‘Times’ Writers Swoon Over Caravaggio

“The Denial of St. Peter,” by Caravaggio. (Courtesy the Metropolitan Museum of Art)

In what has to be one of the most remarkable coincidences in art criticism in recent memory, two New York Times writers, art reporter Randy Kennedy and architecture critic Michael Kimmelman, have both filed essays on their love for Caravaggio in the past week.

Mr. Kennedy was first to print, writing last week about how he has repeatedly visited The Denial of St. Peter at the Metropolitan Museum of Art over the past decade. Here’s a bit of his piece:

Eventually I came to remember exactly where the painting was, and after an interview, before heading to the subway, I got into the habit of making a beeline for it, almost sheepishly, like somebody at a party snubbing all the guests except the one he really wants to talk to.

In an article dated today (it went online yesterday), Mr. Kimmelman, the paper’s former chief art critic, also shared his intense love for Caravaggio, picking as the object of his adoration the artist’s Madonna di Loreto, in Rome’s Basilica di Sant’Agostino. The piece is part of his infrequent “Postcards” column. He recalls visiting the painting as “a teenage art pilgrim” and offers this take:

Caravaggio’s hyper-realism, a magician’s conjuring trick, I have come to regard as a perfect metaphor for great art, which declines to make obvious its deepest truths, leaving us to decipher them if we can. I go back to the picture from time to time to remind myself of that fact, and of my long-ago flush of discovery.

For the record, we’re also a big fan of the artist, with our favorite painting probably being the action-packed Taking of Christ, which is in the National Gallery of Ireland in Dublin.

Do you have a favorite Caravaggio? Please do respectfully share it in the comment section below!

‘Times’ Writers Swoon Over Caravaggio