Cover image of the review

Gian Manik, You own the school, embrace your responsibility for its legacy, presented at Gertrude Glasshouse, 2024. Courtesy of the artist and Sutton Gallery, Naarm Melbourne. Photo: Christian Capurro

Gian Manik, You own the school, embrace your responsibility for its legacy

11 May 2024
Gertrude Glasshouse 12 Apr - 11 May 2024

It feels too easy to begin a review of a painting with a comment on either the perpetual death of painting or its endless revival. So, I won’t. You don’t have to look much further than the recent Netflix series Ripley (2024), the history drama Caravaggio’s Shadow (2022) or even Derek Jarman’s film Caravaggio (1986) to understand Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio’s (1571–1610) unceasing hold on us all, even though he died 414 years ago. While Caravaggio’s paintings are a dime a dozen in the Northern Hemisphere, there’s not a single painting attributed to Caravaggio in Australia.

Twenty years ago, the Old Master’s work toured the East Coast, hopping between the Art Gallery of New South Wales and the National Gallery of Victoria in a ticketed touring exhibition titled Darkness & Light: Caravaggio & his World that “featured key paintings (that) demonstrated the scope and quality of Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio’s (1571–1610) revolutionary vision.” There were nine attributed paintings—the Protection of Cultural Objects on Loan Scheme was put to work—and over fifty works by the Master’s devout followers.

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