Friday, January 06, 2006

Flagellation!

There, that got your attention didn't it? Well don't get too excited because it's not that sort of flagellation, this is about ART. No no, not that sort of bear skin rug, tasteful nudge nudge say no more type art. I mean PROPER ART. This is a link to a RAI website which has a great collection of Caravaggio pictures scanned at a ludicrously high resolution. "The Flagellation of the Christ" was in the Caravaggio show at The National Gallery in London last year and it is one of the most senational pictures I've ever seen. What doesn't quite come across in the scan is how the figure of Christ has been painted. The figures are life size which gives you an idea of how big the canvas is and in classic Caravaggio fashion the blacks in the background are inky. The figure of Christ has been painted with a lot of thick white paint, with the detail applied almost as a wash over the top. This makes Him appear luminous as he reflects much more light than the surrounding figures of the background. It's a quite remarkable effect, breathtaking almost, and hung as it was in the show I saw, quite high up the wall, it has a three dimensional quality that sucks the viewer into the canvas whilst the Christ figure leaps out. Amazing. Even as a commited aetheist I couldn't help but be moved.

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