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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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This book is the result of many years of research and of rethinking the nature and origins of Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio’s sacred style. I began research shortly after completing my dissertation on Caravaggio and Counter-Reformation style at Temple University in 2009. I was privileged to spend a summer in Rome on a 2013 Research Fellowship through the Office of Research at Old Dominion University, during which time the bulk of my book was written.

The majority of the copyediting took place between November 2013 and March 2014 thanks to the extraordinary talents of Michael Gnat. His meticulousness, patience, and humor are unequaled, and I cannot thank him enough. Several colleagues and friends graciously read the manuscript and made crucial recommendations that helped me reshape the book. I would like to thank especially Marcia B. Hall and Robert Wojtowicz for devoting so much time and care in reading my manuscript at various stages of its development.

Many offices and institutions enabled my research and the completion of the book, which include: the Archivio Segreto Vaticano, the Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, and the staff at the Interlibrary Loan office at Old Dominion University. In finding and securing images I was assisted by the remarkable efforts of Liz Kurtulik Mercuri and Michael Slade at Art Resource ← xvii | xviii → in New York; by Stacey Stachow at the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art; by Sinéad Farrelly at the National Gallery of Ireland; Stefano Aietti at the Archivio Riserva...

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