Where's Caravaggio?
June 22, 2012 2:06 PM   Subscribe

Caravaggio-filter: help me find all the Caravaggios in Rome. Is there a list?

I'm going to spend a week or so in Rome, and while I'd there I'd like to track down and see all the Caravaggio paintings there.

The trouble is, while some of the paintings are in museums and big churches, many are scattered about the city, one in this church, one in that church. It's what makes the project difficult, as well as charming. I want to wander from church to church, looking in and maybe dumping some coins to operate the lights on the paintings, and moving on.

But I don't know where all the paintings are and I can't find any comprehensive list.

Ideally I would like

1) a comprehensive list of Caravaggios in Rome,

but I would settle for

2) mentions of particular Caravaggio's in Rome and where they are kept, or
3) other tips.

Thank you!
posted by grobstein to Travel & Transportation around Rome, Italy (11 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
This link lists several. I don't know how comprehensive it is, but it does mention non-museum locations. Here are some others.
posted by ubiquity at 2:19 PM on June 22, 2012 [1 favorite]

The Web Gallery of Art should give you the info you want. You'll have to go through and look for the Roman ones (there's not a separate list) but it's pretty easy.

Definitely don't miss Galleria Borghese or the church of San Luigi dei Francesi.
posted by katemonster at 2:19 PM on June 22, 2012 [1 favorite]

They probably won't all be out on display. Paintings get rotated every now and then. Some will likely be in the back room, others might be on tour, or whatever.

Art books are really detailed with regard to who owns what and where it is. There are a ton of books on Caravaggio; grab a recent one and dive in!
posted by Sys Rq at 2:22 PM on June 22, 2012

Okay, because I got caught up looking at the Caravaggios online, I went ahead and took notes:

Cerasi Chapel, Santa Maria del Popolo, Rome
Contarelli Chapel, San Luigi dei Francesi, Rome
Galleria Borghese
Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Antica, Rome
Pinacoteca, Vatican
Sant'Agostino, Rome
Pinacoteca Capitolina, Rome
Galleria Doria Pamphilj, Rome
posted by katemonster at 2:28 PM on June 22, 2012 [1 favorite]

Definitely don't miss Galleria Borghese or the church of San Luigi dei Francesi.

The rest of the church of San Luigi dei Francesi is beautiful too, but the Caravaggios are divine. And it's a tiny little church, easy to overlook.
posted by antimony at 2:33 PM on June 22, 2012 [1 favorite]

I got this!

Unfortunately it's a bit of a self link; a travel blog feature I wrote on this very subject.

Mods, please delete if this is not ok.
posted by Sara C. at 3:58 PM on June 22, 2012 [4 favorites]

They probably won't all be out on display. Paintings get rotated every now and then.

Not necessarily true for Caravaggio paintings in Rome. Many are in churches, where they would basically never be moved for any reason (except perhaps for cleaning? but still very unusual), and the ones that are in museums are the highlights of their respective collections.

This is sort of like claiming that the Vermeers in New York's Frick Collection might not be on display -- possible, but highly unusual.

I saw almost all the Caravaggio paintings in Rome, on my last trip (about a year ago). The only museum I didn't go do was the Galleria Doria Pamphlij, and I assume the ones in their collection were on display as usual.
posted by Sara C. at 4:07 PM on June 22, 2012

Highly recommend the Blue Guide to Rome, which has useful maps and art information tidbits throughout. One Art History class took us through that section of Caravaggio's Rome, complete with the scandalous details of his life, so if you really wanted to go out there are several trained guides or art historians that you could hire to do a personalized tour. This write-up of an exhibit of Caravaggio includes some great primary source documents including "Assault with a plate of artichokes" which is kind of perfect. While based on an exhibit, this NY Times article includes some suggested routes and must-see paintings. If you have the time, it's an easy train trip down to Napoli to catch some of his later works! Since you have a week, you should plot out any museum closings or strike problems (Fridays were especially notorious for this the last time I was there.) Churches sometimes have odd hours; if you want more time to spend with them, I suggest looking to see if there will be a concert that week, which usually means brighter lights and fewer crowds.
posted by jetlagaddict at 4:39 PM on June 22, 2012 [1 favorite]

the ones that are in museums are the highlights of their respective collections

The Entombment of Christ was loaned out by the Vatican Museums to the Prado for two months last year, but that was a rare loan, and I don't see any major exhibitions (ongoing, upcoming, or just completed) that include paintings from Roman collections.

(Speaking of Vermeer, seekers of Caravaggio's paintings could benefit from a one-page summary of where his works are at the moment.)
posted by holgate at 4:48 PM on June 22, 2012

1) a comprehensive list of Caravaggios in Rome

The two most recent catalogue raisonnés are:

Caravaggio by Spike, John T. and Spike, Michèle K., Abbeville Press, second revised edition, 2010.

"Accompanying the book is a critical catalog on CD-ROM in which all of Caravaggio's extant paintings, as well as lost and rejected works, are thoroughly described. Each entry specifies the work's medium, dimensions, location, and provenance, and provides an annotated bibliography of sources."

Caravaggio: The Complete Works by Sebastian Schütze, Taschen, 2009.
posted by mlis at 8:29 PM on June 22, 2012

here's what looks like a pretty comprehensive 2011 blog post on exactly this subject (in Italian).
posted by progosk at 1:46 PM on June 23, 2012 [1 favorite]

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