Few individuals have had such a revolutionary impact on the history of art as Caravaggio (1571–1610). His short life was violent and intermittently spent as a fugitive, but the impact of his artistic innovations was felt throughout Europe and through the whole course of the seventeenth century.
The National Gallery has three paintings by Caravaggio (sometimes one is on loan elsewhere), but the emphasis of this day is on putting the artist and his achievements in his Italian context and on exploring his influence beyond the peninsula. Among the other artists studied, therefore, are Rubens, Velázquez, and, above all, Rembrandt (1606–1669).
The NG has one of the best collections of Rembrandt paintings in the world – the Dutchman never fell from favour among collectors, in sharp contrast with Caravaggio, who was practically forgotten in the nineteenth century. But they shared much, principally exploitation of the expressive and naturalistic potential of chiaroscuro (contrasting light and shade) to dramatic effect, and the use of humble models and realism rather than idealism to tell religious stories in a new and moving way.
Dr Richard Stemp
Richard Stemp completed his PhD at Clare College, Cambridge on Sculpture in Ferrara in the Fifteenth Century. He was a lecturer at the National Gallery for 24 years and after a year at the Academy of Live and Recorded Arts he has shared his time between art and acting. He teaches across Europe and has written books including The Secret Language of the Renaissance and Churches and Cathedrals, as well as writing and presenting two series for Channel Four, Art in the National Gallery and Tate Modern. Twitter: @drrichardstemp | Instagram: @drrichardstemp
There are four sessions in the galleries of about an hour each.
10.15am, National Gallery, Sainsbury Wing.
£205. This includes lunch, mid-morning and mid-afternoon refreshments.
Maximum 14 participants.
We will return the full amount if you notify us 22 or more days before the event. We will retain 50% if cancellation is made within three weeks and 100% if within three days. Please put your cancellation in writing to firstname.lastname@example.org. We advise taking out insurance in case of cancellation and recommend that overseas clients are also covered for possible medical and repatriation costs.
'I learnt a great deal about the painters but also an appreciation of the riches of the National Gallery.'
'I thoroughly enjoyed the day – informative and pitched at just the right level.'