Caravaggio Masterpiece to Make Rare Chicago Appearance at the Art Institute

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The Art Institute of Chicago will be offering visitors the rare opportunity to view one of Caravaggio's masterworks from October 10, 2009 to January 31, 2010. Coming from the National Gallery, London, The Supper at Emmaus is one of the most highly regarded paintings by one of the most influential of all Western artists, and it is a painting hardly ever seen outside of London. For these four months, it will be one of the few Caravaggios on view anywhere in the United States.

The Supper at Emmaus will serve as the centerpiece for a focus installation in Gallery 211 of the Art Institute's collection of "Caravaggesque" paintings. Caravaggio's insistence on heightened realism and the sculptural qualities of his figures, often brightly lit against a dark background, are evident in works such as Bartolomeo Manfredi's Cupid Chastised and Cecco del Caravaggio's The Resurrection . A gallery brochure will also lead visitors to other galleries where the diffusion of Caravaggio's style throughout Europe will be immediately apparent in works such as Rembrandt's Old Man with a Gold Chain and Rubens's The Capture of Samson.

Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio (1571-1610) is an artist known not only for his groundbreaking paintings that heralded the emergence of the Baroque era but also for his profoundly tumultuous life. Apprenticed at the age of 13 in Milan, the artist fled for Rome when he was 21, after an altercation with a police officer. In Rome, despite his unconventional style and penchant for bar brawls, he quickly attached himself to one of the favorite painters of Pope Clement VIII. His sensual depictions of both quotidian life and exalted religious subjects brought him to the attention of wealthy private patrons and influential members of the clergy, most notably Cardinal Francesco del Monte. The Supper at Emmaus was painted for one of the most avid collectors of art in Rome, Ciriaco de Mattei...

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