I had been trying to get up to Fort Worth for a while to see the Caravaggio exhibit at the Kimbell Art Museum. Everyone seemed interested, but nothing was actually happening. With the exhibit remaining up for less than a week, I couldn’t get it off my mind. Deciding to make a new resolution to not let opportunities pass me by, I spontaneously headed north for the day.
Caravaggio and his followers in Rome was an excellent, well put together show. Expected characteristics in the approximately 50 painting exhibition included the dramatic beauty of chiaroscuro, imposing realism and often violent depictions. Divided into four themes, the show included the seedy street life of Cardsharps and Fortune Teller; Music and Youth that included Caravaggio’s early works, Sick Bacchus and Boy Bitten by a Lizard; Portrayal of the Saints having a religious epiphany or becoming a martyr; and the Sacred Narrative of biblical events, typically revealing the moments after a violent action has occurred. I have to admit, I have always found Caravaggio’s young boys mesmerizing. They are intimate, making you feel you are in the same space of what I feel are questionable moments with young boys that I find amusing. In Boy Bitten by a Lizard, the pain is still being experienced, interrupting his pleasure. While Sick Bacchus, with his greenish face and discolored lips, gazes back at you. This is supposed to be a self-portrait of Caravaggio as the greek god.
A block down was the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth so of course we spend some time there. I can’t remember the last time I visited here. Their permanent collection was fantastic! Josef Albers,Joseph Cornell, Donald Judd, and Robert
Motherwell were all on display. I was lucky enough to stumble upon the Richard Diebenkorn’s Ocean Park Series temporarily on display. Made in the seventies, these abstract Californian landscapes are cool and serene. Diebenkorn’s gesture and geometry are countered by layers and subtraction. They were amazing to look at. I remember reading an article about this series when I was in school. It is always a different experience to study something in person, up close. Of course there were no photos allowed of this travelling exhibit.