Skandalista Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio. Kilka uwag o powieści Petera Dempfa Testament Caravaggia
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This article presents the motif of the scandalising artist – as found in Caravaggio’s Legacy, a novel by Peter Dempf. The plot draws on the biography of Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio, a famous, controversial painter, precursor of Baroque art. In the novel, an analysis of the creative process and the accompanying emotions is combined with an outline of the artist’s biography – all set in a thriller-adventure convention. The literary portrait of Caravaggio, notorious for his wild lifestyle, unruly temper, and frequent involvement in criminal incidents, is the novel’s chief highlight. Dempf employs the popular image of a mad artist, whose conduct and views go beyond the traditional morality. The close relationship between the artist’s personality and his works makes for the naturalist character of his art. In Dempf’s treatment, art has the uncovering function, thus becoming the tool of the painter’s expiation. Caravaggio’s trademark ‘scandalising’ work is a result of the adoption of a certain strategy closely bound up with the most intimate need for mental cleansing. Besides, Dempf’s novel follows the recently-popular literary trend inspired by mysterious or scandalising works and biographies of famous painters.
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