I came across this amazing article by journalist, Teju Cole, on Sept. 23, 2020. His writing touched that raw spot inside of me that was struggling with the challenges we are facing today and how to interpret it through visual art.
Caravaggio painted in Italy from 1590-1610 using strong lights and darks, limited color and complex compositions with figures that are filled with emotions.
Teju Cole takes us on a journey with him to Italy on a quest to follow Caravaggio as he painted and view his works in this context and through the lens of today’s’ immigration crisis across the globe.
Read Teju Cole's Article in The New York Times
My favorite quote from this article is:
“The very act of looking at an old painting can be so strange. It is an activity that is often bound up with class identity or social aspiration. It can sometimes feel like a diverting, or irritating, stroll among white people’s ancestors. It can also often be wonderful, giving the viewer a chance to be blessed by a stranger’s ingenuity or insight. But rarely, something even better happens: A painting made by someone in a distant country hundreds of years ago, an artist’s careful attention and turbulent experience sedimented onto a stretched canvas, leaps out of the past to call you — to call you — to attention in the present, to drive you to confusion by drawing from you both a sense of alarm and a feeling of consolation, to bring you to an awareness of your own self in the act of experiencing something that is well beyond the grasp of language, something that you wouldn’t wish to live without.”
As you/your students create artwork this fall, that you may enter in Scholastics, let Caravaggio and Teju Cole inspire you. Enjoy reading or listening to “In Dark Times, I Sought Out the Turmoil of Caravaggio’s Paintings!”
Find Teju Cole on Facebook