Valentin de Boulogne: Beyond Caravaggio | Met Exhibitions


(din of crowd) (single piano note plays) KEITH CHRISTIANSEN:
This is a unique opportunity to see the work
of one of the great figures of 17th-century French painting, Valentin de Boulogne. This will be the first
and probably the only time that people will be able to measure the genius
of this artist. He is, I think
the most singular of all the followers
of Caravaggio, and of course,
the moment of Caravaggio is one of the defining moments
of Western art. Art shifts
from the elevated vision of Raphael and Michelangelo to a populist vision. Valentin embraces
this new method of painting directly from the posed model, so that paintings would
have the quality of real presence. He crops pictures in the way
that a great photographer would. He frames them tightly, cutting them off
in particular mid-leg, so that the space is continuous
with that of the viewer. And then there
is always a figure who turns, looks out,
that pulls the viewer in. And I think this
is one of the things that seduced me into his art, that you feel that you are
no longer the viewer looking
through a framed picture, but that you are
a participant in something that, although
it was done centuries ago, seems immediate, real,
and now. (piano chords play and fade)

2 thoughts on “Valentin de Boulogne: Beyond Caravaggio | Met Exhibitions

  1. This was an absolutely astounding exhibition. I don't think I've ever connected emotionally with works from 400 years ago more than I did there.

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