Julian Bell reviews Beyond Caravaggio at The National Gallery, London, on view through January 15, 2017.
Describing Caravaggio's The Taking of Christ (1602), Bell observes "This is beauty, Caravaggio-style. An object is illuminated and scrutinised until its textures sing out. Comparable pleasures are on offer when Caravaggio paints a glass vase in the National Gallery’s Boy Bitten by a Lizard or a basket of fruit in Supper at Emmaus ... This, after all, was the young Lombard’s calling card when Roman patrons led by Cardinal del Monte began commissioning Caravaggio in the mid-1590s: an unprecedented technical prowess, allowing him to deliver descriptions of physicality so acute and luscious that they left words behind."