Caravaggio and Rembrandt at the National Gallery

My reason for stopping in London before going to Rome was to take a one day course on Caravaggio and Rembrandt at the National Gallery.

The National Gallery has three Caravaggio paintings. The course emphasis is on his achievements and his influence beyond Italy. Among those influenced were Rubens, Velazquez and Rembrandt. The National Gallery claims to have one of the best collections of Rembrandt paintings.

The course is taught by Richard Stemp who has a Cambridge PhD on sculpture in Ferrara in the 15th century. I have one of his books; he also has one called Churches and Cathedrals.

Twelve people taking this course: two Americans, one woman from Italy, me and the rest are English.

We started by looking at what went before Caravaggio: Titian and the Mannerists.

Then we had tea before looking at the three Caravaggio’s.

Then we had a lunch of generous proportions; too generous for me—I couldn’t finish it. After we looked at those influenced by Caravaggio including Velazquez’s Christ in the House of Mary and Martha. Dr. Stemp had an interpretation which was an aha moment for me in his suggestion that the upper right corner represents a mirror rather than a painting or opening in the wall.

Then another tea break or water in my case, and on to Rembrandt where Dr. Stemp pulled together the influences that we had looked at to this point.

A fantastic study day.

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