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Sunday, July 23, 2017

How To Look At Art: Know How Artists Think

Supper at Emmaus, 1606, Michael Caravaggio, Brera Art Gallery, Milan
Supper at Emmaus, 1606, Michael Caravaggio, Brera Art Gallery, Milan

Curiosity is mother of creativity. Artists that succeed are seriously curious. Curiosity - ability to treat all experiences as sources of inspiration - gives them intellectual material with which to create, a purpose and meaning to life, and a passion that fires imagination.

Creative geniuses think not 'what is', but 'what can be'. Great Italian artist, Michael Caravaggio (1571-1610), gives us the masterclass in curiosity. An orphan, he had to apprentice in art studios from the young age, perfecting composition and the way to model the human form and gesture. Artistic style that prevailed at his time, Mannerism of the Late Renaissance exaggerated proportion, balance and beauty and was dull and artificial.

Caravaggio wanted to find new realism in painting - a radical realism that would shock. His curiosity led him to optics; optics then was what the digital technologies are now. He learned everything to know about lenses - convex, biconvex and concave - and eventually developed chiaroscuro, the innovative technique of dramatic contrasts of light and shadow.

This started Baroque, a new-age art of intense expression and action that made great impact on the arts, science and humanities. Caravaggio worked only for short 14 years, but powered by creativity his legacy is lasting. Is curiosity the mother of it all? Commission or buy Kenyan art, original or prints, for your home and office.

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