The Last Caravaggio at the Gallerie d’Italia

The immense legacy of Michelangelo Merisi goes on display at the Gallerie d’Italia in Piazza della Scala. At the centre of the exhibition, the masterpiece of the collections of Banca Intesa Sanpaolo: the Martyrdom of Saint Ursula (1610), the last painting by Caravaggio, done in a hurry, on the eve of his departure for Porto Ercole and about a month before his death. Regardless of the circumstances of its creation - it is said that the work left the artist’s studio with the paint still wet and that, after it was delivered, it was put out in the sun to speed up the drying - the Martyrdom represents the perfection of a revolutionary process, destined to leave its mark profoundly on the future of art. Along with its original iconography, which represents the Saint just struck by the arrow of Attila the Hun, the painting offers an intense, dramatic pictorial language, which furthers accents the element of light and shadow, emblematic of the artist from Bergamo. The painting benefits from a comparison with an analogous work by Bernardo Strozzi and 50 other works by masters of the 17th Century and followers of Caravaggio, useful in retracing the triumphs and difficulties of a style which created quite a stir at the time. Worthy of admiration, the monumental Last Supper by Giulio Cesare Procaccini, recently restored, along with works by Pieter Paul Rubens, Antoon Van Dyck, Battistello Caracciolo and Jusepe de Ribera, many of which are on display in Milan for the first time.
Francesca Grego - © 2017 for Bulgari Hotel Milano