Tag Archives: Caravaggio


From the wonderful Exhibition on Screen team, directed by Phil Grabsky,this is a luminous, beautifully photographed film that looks at how Western art over the millennia has depicted Christ’s suffering, Passion and Resurrection, possibly the most momentous historical event of all time. Shot on location in Jerusalem, the US and throughout Europe the film The film covers “the greatest story ever told”, as interpreted by many of the world’s most famous artists across the centuries.The story of Jesus Christ’s death and Resurrection as told in the Christian Gospels eminently features in western culture for more than two millennia.

Depictions of what has come to be known as the “Easter story” appeared as early as the third century, came to dominance in the Renaissance period, and have continued to fascinate successive generations of contemporary painters. From the triumphant to the savage, the ethereal to the tactile, many of the western art world’s most famous masterpieces focus on the story of Jesus’ final days on earth.

While mostly showing Catholic works it also includes Protestant and Russian Orthodox pieces and examines the development and changes in styles in artworks over the years,often presenting and analysing them in detailed closeup. The film opens and closes with a midnight Russian Orthodox service, but we also observe Catholic liturgical ceremonies .The works range from Byzantine mosaics , include stained glass windows and include a sculpture created in 2000 and the iconic,looming statue of Christ in Rio. Among the dizzying number of artists included are Caravaggio, Dalí, El Greco, Giotto, Da Vinci (his Last Supper) , Holbein , Manet , Mantegna , Michelangelo ( his Pieta ), Raphael, Rembrandt, Rubens, Tintoretto, Titian and Velázquez It is the most illustrated narrative in Western history. Some famous artists are not included, for example Pablo Picasso and Jean Cocteau.

The mellifluous voices of Rupert Farley, Matt Wilkinson, David Rintoul and Glen McCready read the Gospels and assorted experts discuss the works and how the story resonates with us as we identify with Jesus as human, deeply empathising with Christ’s suffering, His loneliness and so on. While yes the narrative is uncomfortable, it is an intensely focused drama of courage, faith and love.

The film begins with depictions of Palm Sunday and Christ’s entry into Jerusalem, followed by His driving out the money lenders from the temple. Then we see Judas’ betrayal and his being paid (thirty pieces of silver).

The visual aspect of things was most important , dramatizing and explaining the story – most of the Medieval and Renaissance Christian art was for generally an illiterate congregation .We can identify with Christ as a human, his Passion, pain, loneliness and suffering : when He is hauled before Pilate and the handed over to the soldiers who bind, flagellate and taunt him and put a crown of thorns on His head. We see various depictions of the Crucifixion .The experts on screen discuss how the Byzantine and Medieval artists perhaps struggled technically and don’t really draw us in to the narrative whereas from roughly the sixteenth century , painters pushed the figures to the front of the picture, inviting us in and often looking out towards the viewer. Until about the fifteenth century, Christ and the angels ,Apostles and so on were depicted with golden halos.From roughly the seventeenth century no painter who sought to depict the human body would not attempt to paint the Crucifixion and involve us as if we were there. The powerful impact of the image of the Pieta is then discussed – it is ‘out of time and for all time’.

Which then brings us to the entombment and the Resurrection, Christ’s appearance to Mary Magdalene in the garden (‘noli me tangere’)and then the Apostles, and doubting Thomas ,followed by His Ascension.

Running time 90 minutes


EASTER IN ART screens at selected cinemas various dates and times from 5 April 2022


The Beheading of St John the Baptist

Following the Vatican Museums 3D and Florence and the Uffizi Gallery we now have a brand-new documentary on the life and work of Italian master Caravaggio and the birth of modern painting directed by award winning Mexican director Jesus Garces Lambert .

The research is extensive – there are lots of interviews with various curators, archivists etc – and well ‘s presented. Some of the photography of the various places linked to Caravaggio’s life is stunning , some of it dizzying and overdone. We follow Caravaggio on his travels through Milan, Venice, Rome, Naples, Sicily and Malta as he attempts to flee his inner demons and various enemies he made along the way. Continue reading CARAVAGGIO: THE SOUL AND THE BLOOD