CODART, Dutch and Flemish art in museums worldwide

Caravaggio and Northern European Painting

Symposium: 30 November 2015

24th Annual NIKI-Conference Italy and the Low Countries – Artistic Relations

Information from the organizer, 10 October 2015

Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio (1571-1610) produced a highly diverse body of paintings that had an enormous impact on the development of seventeenth-century art. Intensely detailed realist observation, a compelling sense of drama, and powerful contrasts between light and dark all contributed to the success of his art and helped to establish his fame.

As early as 1603-04 the Netherlandish painter and writer Karel Van Mander acknowledged Caravaggio’s radical originality. He included Caravaggio’s biography in his Schilder-boeck and praised his ability ‘to face life and to follow nature with all her different colours’. Van Mander called Caravaggio’s painting technique an example ‘for our young artists to follow’ – and follow it they did. Among the artists who assimilated elements of his style in their own work, a disproportionately large number came from Northern Europe.

The present conference seeks to shed new light on the rich diversity of artistic responses to Caravaggio’s painted oeuvre during the early decades of the seventeenth century. These responses will not be analysed only in terms of style and influence. Special attention will also be devoted to the specific contexts in which Northern painters responded to the Italian master’s innovations. The mechanisms of migration, the history of collecting and working relationships between artists will therefore receive due attention. The conference anticipates some of the central themes of the upcoming exhibition Caravaggio and the Painters from the North, scheduled to take place in the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza in Madrid (21 June – 25 September 2016).

Admission free – Lunch: €8,50 – €10,00

For reservations (deadline 23 November) and more information contact Mireille Cornelis, NIKI-ambassador at

See this website for more information about the conference.

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