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The Path of Humility

Caravaggio and Carlo Borromeo


Anne H. Muraoka

The Path of Humility: Caravaggio and Carlo Borromeo establishes a fundamental relationship between the Franciscan humility of Archbishop of Milan Carlo Borromeo and the Roman sacred works of Caravaggio. This is the first book to consider and focus entirely upon these two seemingly anomalous personalities of the Counter-Reformation. The import of Caravaggio’s Lombard artistic heritage has long been seen as pivotal to the development of his sacred style, but it was not his only source of inspiration. This book seeks to enlarge the discourse surrounding Caravaggio’s style by placing him firmly in the environment of Borromean Milan, a city whose urban fabric was transformed into a metaphorical Via Crucis. This book departs from the prevailing preoccupation – the artist’s experience in Rome as fundamental to his formulation of sacred style – and toward his formative years in Borromeo’s Milan, where humility reigned supreme. This book is intended for a broad, yet specialized readership interested in Counter-Reformation art and devotion. It serves as a critical text for undergraduate and graduate art history courses on Baroque art, Caravaggio, and Counter-Reformation art.
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1.Ottavio Leoni, Portrait of Caravaggio, ca. 1614, chalk on blue paper. Biblioteca Marucelliana, Florence. Photo: Scala/Art Resource, NY.

2.Anonymous, San Carlo Borromeo, seventeenth century, oil on canvas. San Carlone, Arona. Photo: Gianni Dagli Orti/The Art Archive at Art Resource, NY.

3.Bonaventura Berlinghieri, Saint Francis altarpiece, 1235, tempera on panel. San Francesco, Pescia. Photo: Scala/Art Resource, NY.

4.Fra Angelico, Descent from the Cross, 1430–34, tempera on panel. Museo di San Marco, Florence. Photo: Alfredo Dagli Orti/The Art Archive at Art Resource, NY.

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