Books: The Man Who Became Caravaggio By Peter Robb

By Peter Robb

The mysteries of Caravaggio's inventive, rootless and miserably destructive life quickly pull the reader into this biography, which reads as much like a Simenon detective tale as it does the deeply researched work of art history that it is. Even the painter's name is up for grabs, reduced here to M (it's worth reading the book to find out why). One thing is not mysterious: painting was irrevocably changed by the drama and limpid sexuality of Caravaggio's pictures--boys with eyes of precocious longing, fruit heavy with a ripeness so perfect as to be forbidden even as it beckons. Robb's slangy style...

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