FRAME Announces Landmark Exhibition: Caravaggio and His Legacy

Brings Masterpieces to Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA); Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford US Tour is Stunning International Achievement

LOS ANGELES, CA (September 11, 2012)—FRAME (French Regional American Museum Exchange) announces the landmark exhibition, Caravaggio and His Legacy, which brings together major masterpieces devoted to the study of Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio (1571-1610) and the impact of his revolutionary art. Caravaggio rivaled the fame of Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci and was universally lauded for his innovative compositions, striking realism, use of light, and emotionally powerful images.

The U.S. premiere, Bodies and Shadows: Caravaggio and His Legacy, opens at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) November 11, 2012 and runs through February 10, 2013. Numerous significant works will travel for the first time to the United States.  The stunning achievement of realizing this exhibition is possible thanks to significant loans from FRAME member museums, as well as the generosity of major international institutions such as the Louvre, Paris, the National Gallery, London, the Palazzo Bianco, Genoa, and the Galleria Palatina, Palazzo Pitti, Florence and private collections. 

Over sixty percent of the works in the exhibition will be on loan from FRAME member museums. FRAME French museums loaning works include: Musée Fabre, Montpellier; Musée des Beaux-Arts de Nantes; Musée des Beaux-Arts de Rennes; Musée des Beaux-Arts de Rouen; and Musée des Augustins, Toulouse. FRAME North American museums loaning to the exhibition include: Los Angeles Country Museum of Art; Cleveland Museum of Art; Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco (Legion of Honor), Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford; Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City; and Minneapolis Institute of Arts. Other major North American museums loaning works include those in Atlanta, Boston, Detroit, New Orleans, New York, Raleigh, Ottawa, Philadelphia, Springfield, and Washington, DC.  The exhibition features an unprecedented eight Caravaggio paintings to be presented for the first time in California.

Caravaggio was the major “art star” of his era and his path-breaking innovations are credited with the invention of realism in painting. The impact of Caravaggio’s unique style—his blend of bright highlights and masterful chiaroscuro, dubbed tenebrism—sent tremors across Europe’s artistic landscape. In Rome, aftershocks of Caravaggio’s revolutionary reworking of realism appeared in the work of artists such as Baglione, Manfredi, Saraceni and Orazio Gentileschi.  Painters adapted Caravaggio’s theatrical use of light and figural staging, while many French artists, including Simon Vouet and Claude Vignon, were inspired by Caravaggio’s work for their large-scale religious and genre compositions.

This exhibition, organized under the auspices of FRAME, will present significant works by Caravaggio and his most important peers and followers in Italy, France, Flanders and the Netherlands who were influenced by his innovative style and subject matter. Included are a remarkable selection of costume and theatrical pieces, genre scenes, portraiture, narrative history painting, and religious works, including key themes organized around topics such as musicality, festivity, violence, nude studies, as well as religious works depicting St. Francis, St. Sebastian, and the Denial of St. Peter.

The exhibition opened simultaneously in June 2012 at the Musée Fabre, Montpellier and the Musée des Augustins, Toulouse, split between Italian/French/Spanish and Northern followers. An edited version of the Los Angeles exhibition will be presented at the Wadsworth Atheneum Hartford, as Burst of Light: Caravaggio and His Legacy from March 8 – June 16, 2013. 

FRAME’s Caravaggio and His Legacy national tour sponsors include the Annenberg Foundation/GRoW Annenberg, Sotheby’s, the Robert Lehman Foundation, and the Samuel H. Kress Foundation. The national tour is also supported by an indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and Humanities. The Los Angeles presentation is made possible by the Ahmanson Foundation. The Hartford presentation is made possible by Bank of America.

FRAME was founded in 1999 by Elizabeth Rohatyn, Co-President and Chairman of the Board of Trustees. The late Françoise Cachin was Founding Co-President of FRAME in France.  FRAME (French Regional American Museum Exchange, a non-profit organization) is a consortium 26 museums in France and North America that promotes cultural exchange in the context of museum collaborations. FRAME fosters partnerships among its member museums to develop innovative exhibitions, educational and public programs, and professional exchange, and maintains a bi-lingual website to reach global audiences. In France, FRAME is overseen by Co-President and Chairman of the Executive Committee, Marie-Christine Labourdette, Director, Service des Musées de France. The organization’s directors are Dr. Charlotte N. Eyerman in North America and Mr. Pierre Provoyeur in France. FRAME’s offices are in Los Angeles, California and Paris, France.