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Caravaggio exhibit opens in Texas

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) ― Works by Italian artist Caravaggio are on display along with pieces by those influenced by him in an exhibit in Fort Worth, Texas.

“Caravaggio and His Followers in Rome” opened Sunday at the Kimbell Art Museum. The exhibit, which runs through Jan. 8, features 10 works by Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio and more than 40 works from artists inspired by him, including Jusepe de Ribera, Georges de La Tour and Peter Paul Rubens.

The exhibit, previously on display at the National Gallery of Canada, is making its only U.S. stop in Fort Worth.

Caravaggio’s dramatic paintings are noted for the illumination of his subjects against dark backgrounds and his realistic depictions of people, often based on live models.

Eric M. Lee, director of the Kimbell, said Caravaggio “created a new kind of art ― dramatic, deeply emotional, grounded in the vivid details of everyday life and overwhelmingly human.

“In the process, he altered the course of European art,” Lee said.

Caravaggio was born in 1571 in the village of Caravaggio near Milan and settled in Rome in the mid-1590s. Known for his volatile personality, he fled Rome after killing a man in a fight in 1606. He then spent time in Naples, Sicily and Malta. He died in July 1610 at the age of 38 while making his way back to Rome after being pardoned by the pope.

“He was kind of the original bad boy artist,” said David Franklin, director of the Cleveland Museum of Art who co-curated the exhibit when he worked at the National Gallery of Canada.

The exhibit features works by Caravaggio ranging from the religious _ including “Saint John the Baptist in the Wilderness” and “Sacrifice of Isaac” ― to those depicting the seedier sides of life. “The Cardsharps” shows men cheating at cards while “The Gypsy Fortune Teller’’ shows a fortune teller stealing a man’s ring as she holds his hand.
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