7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
A brief life with no new insights,
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This review is from: Caravaggio: Painter of Miracles (Eminent Lives) (Hardcover)
Francine Prose writes well and with a light ironic touch but this slim volume adds little to what we already know about Caravaggio. At a little over 100 pages and with only a handful of color illustrations the book amounts to little more than an extended essay of Ms. Prose's reactions to Caravaggio's major works. There are very many better books showing the paintings and Prose doesn't go into the camera obscura technique that Caravaggio undoubtedly used, giving his paintings an almost photo-realistic representation of his subjects.
That Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio was a brawler with a passion for picking fights worthy of "Fight Club" who combined erratic behavior with some sublime paintings is hardly an insight. A much better treatment of the life and psychology of the artist appears in Peter Robb's 1998 "M: The Man who Became Caravaggio" which curiously is unreferenced by Prose.
Although Prose notes that Caravaggio broke away from the stylized poses and unearthly lighting of the mannerists, I don't think she clearly explains his genius.