New York City, NY
The greatest French follower of Caravaggio (1571–1610), Valentin de Boulogne (1591–1632) was also one of the outstanding artists in 17th-century Europe. In the years following Caravaggio's death, he emerged as one of the most original protagonists of the new, naturalistic painting.
This will be the first monographic exhibition devoted to Valentin, who is little known because his career was short-lived—he died at age 41—and his works are so rare. Around 60 paintings by Valentin survive, and this exhibition will bring together 45 of them, with works coming from Rome, Vienna, Munich, Madrid, London, and Paris. Exceptionally, the Musée du Louvre, which possesses the most important and extensive body of Valentin's works, will lend all of its paintings by the artist.
Although he is not well known to the general public, Valentin has long been admired by those with a passion for Caravaggesque painting. His work was a reference point for the great realists of the 19th century, from Courbet to Manet, and his startlingly vibrant staging of dramatic events and the deep humanity of his figures, who seem touched by a pervasive melancholy, make his work unforgettable.
Credit: Exhibition overview from museum website.
Whether you go or not, the exhibition catalog, Valentin de Boulogne: Beyond Caravaggio, is the first comprehensive English monograph on an outstanding 17th-century artist. In the years following Caravaggio’s death, the French-born painter Valentin de Boulogne (1591–1632) emerged as one of the greatest masters of naturalistic painting, demonstrating the influence of Caravaggio’s style and subject matter. This book features more than 50 lushly illustrated paintings by Valentin, as well as numerous comparative works that help situate his oeuvre.
Essays by an international team of experts explore Valentin’s masterful depictions of everyday life as well as the tumult and violence of 17th-century Rome, where he lived and worked. This comprehensive survey brings to light a radical but under-recognized practitioner of realism whose powerful works prefigured the modernity of 19th-century artists such as Gustave Courbet.