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M: The Caravaggio Enigma Paperback – 1 Jan 2000

4.7 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Pub Ltd (1 Jan. 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0747548587
  • ISBN-13: 978-0747548584
  • Product Dimensions: 4.7 x 13 x 19.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 577,108 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Amazon Review

The artist formerly (and usually) known as Caravaggio has been a perennial and fascinating enigma for centuries. Born Michelangelo Merisi in 1571, he took the name Caravaggio from the small town outside Milan in which he lived before moving to Rome in 1592, where he rapidly established himself as one of the most acclaimed but also controversial painters of his time. In Peter Robb's groundbreaking biography of the artist he is simply but elusively M, a shadowy, enigmatic figure who "floats on the surface of a treacherous reality" in the "bitchy" decadent world of Counter-Reformation Rome.

With great style and pace Robb pursues M through the archives, revealing an extraordinary life characterised by "lies to the police, reticence in court, extorted confessions, forced denunciations, revengeful memoirs, self-justifying hindsight, unquestioned hearsay, diplomatic urbanities, theocratic diktat, reported gossip, threats and propaganda, angry outbursts--hardly a word untainted by fear, ignorance, malice or self interest". The result is a magnificent evocation of Caravaggio's paintings and turbulent life set against the backdrop of the politically coercive and decadent world of power-hungry cardinals, rent boys, prostitutes, pimps and painters where "fear and suspicion pervaded the culture". Robb wonderfully evokes this oppressive world, arguing that M's repeated arrests for fighting, libel and ultimately murder, which led to him fleeing Rome, were as much the product of the culture as of the artist's troubled mind. Interwoven within this account are deft and insightful readings of M's paintings from life, which are lavishly reproduced in both colour and black and white. M will undoubtedly outrage art historians and some of its claims are tenuous (such as the dark conspiracy it claims led to M's mysterious death in 1610). Nevertheless, M's yoking together of biography, thriller and detective story is the perfect medium through which to tell the story of Caravaggio's extraordinary life. --Jerry Brotton --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"Recreates the mirror Caravaggio held up to nature with singular delicacy as well as passion and panache."--Hilary Spurling, "The New York Times Book Review"
"[Robb's] biography . . . comes across almost like an eyewitness account. His commentaries on the paintings convey a kind of informed passion in confrontation with genius . . . His account achieves both intimacy and vibrancy because of the richness of layering, its nonstop accumulation of analyzed detail."--Richard Bernstein, "The New York Times"
"Robb's ambitions are lofty and, plainly put, it is hard not to be seduced by his prose."--"The Washington Post"
"Partisan, sharply personal, and well worth reading."--"The Wall Street Journal"
"Passionate, perceptive . . . [Robb] succeeds brilliantly in bringing to life one of the handful of figures in art history whose genius blazed so brightly that it illuminated an entire age and changed forever the course of European art."--"The Baltimore Sun"
"It is clear that Caravaggio is Robb's oyster, and he makes him ours, too."--"The Boston Globe"
"That rarest of hybrids, a cerebral thrill ride, and its indulgences are more than balanced by the brilliance of insight."--"The Village Voice"
"A feast of art appreciation, storytelling, and witty speculation."--"Bookpage"


Recreates the mirror Caravaggio held up to nature with singular delicacy as well as passion and panache. "Hilary Spurling, The New York Times Book Review"

[Robb's] biography . . . comes across almost like an eyewitness account. His commentaries on the paintings convey a kind of informed passion in confrontation with genius . . . His account achieves both intimacy and vibrancy because of the richness of layering, its nonstop accumulation of analyzed detail. "Richard Bernstein, The New York Times"

Robb's ambitions are lofty and, plainly put, it is hard not to be seduced by his prose. "The Washington Post"

Partisan, sharply personal, and well worth reading. "The Wall Street Journal"

Passionate, perceptive . . . [Robb] succeeds brilliantly in bringing to life one of the handful of figures in art history whose genius blazed so brightly that it illuminated an entire age and changed forever the course of European art. "The Baltimore Sun"

It is clear that Caravaggio is Robb's oyster, and he makes him ours, too. "The Boston Globe"

That rarest of hybrids, a cerebral thrill ride, and its indulgences are more than balanced by the brilliance of insight. "The Village Voice"

A feast of art appreciation, storytelling, and witty speculation. "Bookpage""

Recreates the mirror Caravaggio held up to nature with singular delicacy as well as passion and panache. Hilary Spurling, The New York Times Book Review

[Robb's] biography . . . comes across almost like an eyewitness account. His commentaries on the paintings convey a kind of informed passion in confrontation with genius . . . His account achieves both intimacy and vibrancy because of the richness of layering, its nonstop accumulation of analyzed detail. Richard Bernstein, The New York Times

Robb's ambitions are lofty and, plainly put, it is hard not to be seduced by his prose. The Washington Post

Partisan, sharply personal, and well worth reading. The Wall Street Journal

Passionate, perceptive . . . [Robb] succeeds brilliantly in bringing to life one of the handful of figures in art history whose genius blazed so brightly that it illuminated an entire age and changed forever the course of European art. The Baltimore Sun

It is clear that Caravaggio is Robb's oyster, and he makes him ours, too. The Boston Globe

That rarest of hybrids, a cerebral thrill ride, and its indulgences are more than balanced by the brilliance of insight. The Village Voice

A feast of art appreciation, storytelling, and witty speculation. Bookpage

" --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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