The exhibition dedicated to the paintings of Michelangelo Merisi, a.k.a. Caravaggio (1571-1610), opens in the exhibition halls of the Royal Castle in Warsaw with over forty paintings by artists influenced by his revolutionary style. The exhibition pays tribute to the research carried out by Roberto Longhi (1889-1970) and his extraordinary collection. Longhi, whose 50th death anniversary fell in 2020, was one of 20th century most fascinating art historians. He has to be credited with the rediscovery of Caravaggio’s work, at the time one of the “least known painters of Italian art”, to whom, in 1911, he dedicated his degree dissertation, discussant Pietro Toesca of the University of Turin. In his pioneering thesis, the young Longhi recognised the revolutionary impact of Merisi’s painting, considering him as the first modern age painter.
On display is one of Caravaggio’s masterpieces, purchased by Roberto Longhi at the end of the 1920s: Ragazzo morso da un ramarro (Boy bitten by a lizard), datable to 1596-1597. Painted at the beginning of Caravaggio’s stay in Rome, this work was already admired by his contemporaries for the “diligence” with which he rendered the still life elements with the transparent jug and flowers.
The exhibition is promoted by the Presidency of the Republic of Poland, the Ministry of Culture, National Heritage and Sport of the Republic of Poland and the Roberto Longhi Foundation for the Study of Art History. It is curated by Maria Cristina Bandera, Scientific Director of the Roberto Longhi Foundation for the Study of Art History, and by Artur Badach and Zuzanna Potocka-Szawerdo, curators of the Royal Castle in Warsaw, and organised by Civita Exhibitions and Museums.