Michelangelo Merisi, better known as Caravaggio, was born in Milan on September 29, 1571, and on his birthday this year, a new exhibition of his works is inaugurated in his hometown. ‘Dentro Caravaggio’ (Inside Caravaggio), curated by Rossella Vodret, is a unique exhibition that presents to the public, for the first time together, 20 works assembled from major Italian and foreign museums – among them: ‘St. John the Baptist’ (1603), ‘San Girolamo Penitente’ (1605-1606); ‘The boy bitten by a green lizard’ (1596-97), ‘The Sacrifice of Isaac’ (1602-03), ‘Holy Family with St. John the Baptist’ (1604-1605), ‘Salome with the Head of John the Baptist’ (1607 or 1610).

The exhibition, housed at the Palazzo Reale (Royal Palace) in Milan until January 28th, is one of the most long-awaited exhibitions of autumn 2017 because of the rare opportunity that it gives everyone to admire so many of Caravaggio’s works in a single location. Moreover, ‘Dentro Caravaggio’ gives another unprecedented opportunity, the one to observe, for the first time, the artist’s canvases next to their respective x-ray images, which allow the viewer to discover, through an innovative use of multimedia equipment, the moment in which the idea came into Caravaggio’s mind and its transformation into painting. “They are reflections and x-rays, which penetrate to a different extent under the pictorial surface, to help us interpret incidental phenomena invisible to the eye,” explains curator Vodret. All of this together with selected documents from the State Archives of Rome and Siena that shed light on the human and artistic events of the artist’s life.

All in all, the set-up not only triggers the emotion intended by the author of the paintings, it also enables visitors to deeply understand the events in Caravaggio’s life that led him to his creations and their process of realization.

Ilona Catani Scarlett

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