Baroque Mastery at the Rijksmuseum

The Crowning with Thorns, c. 1603, by Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio (Vienna, Kunsthistorisches Museum Inv. no. 307)
It’s a style intended to evoke — and elicit — emotion.

NRPLUS MEMBER ARTICLE T he Wuhan Flu might keep us from Rome, but the Rijksmuseum’s exhibition “Caravaggio/Bernini: Baroque in Rome” is a rarefied substitute. What? We can’t go to Amsterdam, either? Well, enjoy this primer on Baroque style and spirit from the safety of your bunker. The show’s a wonderful travelogue, a history lesson, and an aesthetic banquet, too.

The English word “baroque” comes from the French for “irregularly shaped” and initially referred to pearls that weren’t round but bulged as if a soul inside were trying to escape. Nobody in Rome in the 1600s called Gian Lorenzo Bernini (1598–1680) or Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio

(Gallerie Nazionali d’Arte Antica, Palazzo Barberini Inv. no. 1569; gift of Vasilij Bogdanovič Khvoschinskij, 1916 Photo: Gallerie Nazionali d’Arte Antica – Bibliotheca Hertziana, Max Planck Institute for Art History/Enrico Fontolan)

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