Caravaggio & Bernini at the Kunsthistorisches Museum

Vienna | 15 October 2019 – 19 January 2020

Tim Marlow, artistic director for London's Royal Academy of Arts, chooses the best exhibitions to see this month, presented by Regent Seven Seas Cruises.

T he Kunsthistorisches Museum is presenting Caravaggio & Bernini, the first major show in Austria to be devoted to these revolutionary giants of the Baroque. The artists were masters of theatricality and dynamism, which they convey brilliantly in their respective oeuvres. This exhibition explores the legacy of innovation and creativity in early 17th century Rome, when the city served as the center of the artistic world.

Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio, David with the Head of Goliath, circa 1600-01 [ © KHM-Museumsverband]

Known for his unconventional lifestyle and unidealized figures, Michelangelo Merisi de Caravaggio instilled his paintings with dramatic lighting and shadow that was widely copied in Italy and beyond.

Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio, The Crowning with Thorns, circa 1603 [ © KHM-Museumsverband]
Gian Lorenzo Bernini, St Sebastian, 1617. © Foto: Museo Nacional Thyssen- Bornemisza, Madrid [ © Photo: Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid] Private Collection; on loan to Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid

Architect, sculptor, painter and playwright, Giam Lorenzo Bernini created exquisite works imbued with realism and expressing grand emotion. His talent won him important commissions and the patronage of powerful popes.

Gian Lorenzo Bernini, Ecstasy of St Teresa, circa 1644-47 [ © St Petersburg, The State Hermitage Museum] Кокшаров А.М.

Both men’s outsize contributions forever changed the course of art history.

Over 70 examples of sublime Roman artworks by the pair, along with examples by their contemporaries, will make up the exhibition which promises to be a veritable feast for the eyes. Highlights include Caravaggio’s Narcissus and the eternally surprised, Boy Bitten by Lizard, and Bernini’s Medusa and a statue of St Sebastian.

Caravaggio & Bernini will open at the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna from 15 October 2019 to 19 January 2020

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