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L'expérience Caravage

The temporary exhibition ‘L’expérience Caravage – Autour du Souper à Emmaüs (1606)’ at the Musée des Beaux Arts de Caen provides the unique opportunity to discover an extraordinary painting which rarely leaves its museum in Milan, the Pinacoteca di Brera. Besides the importance of the painting itself, the objective of the exhibition is to show its immense influence, both thematically and stylistically. ‘Cena in Emmaus’ is thus both the central piece of the exhibition as well as the point of departure of a larger narrative which addresses the religious themes of the scene depicted as well as Caravaggio’s influence on... Read More

The temporary exhibition ‘L’expérience Caravage – Autour du Souper à Emmaüs (1606)’ at the Musée des Beaux Arts de Caen provides the unique opportunity to discover an extraordinary painting which rarely leaves its museum in Milan, the Pinacoteca di Brera. Besides the importance of the painting itself, the objective of the exhibition is to show its immense influence, both thematically and stylistically. ‘Cena in Emmaus’ is thus both the central piece of the exhibition as well as the point of departure of a larger narrative which addresses the religious themes of the scene depicted as well as Caravaggio’s influence on artists of many different origins and time periods, up until today.

The exhibition design looks to accomplish two different objectives without being contradictory but in the end strengthen one another:
– highlight or showcase the unique œuvre which is ‘Cena in Emmaus’
– creating an organisational radiance around the work of Caravaggio , making its influence readable for all visitors

The exhibition is organised around a central axis along which the visitor not only discovers ‘Cena in Emmaus’ but also a series of 16th century engravings from Wierix as well as the entrance to the projection room showing ‘The Quintet of the Astonished’ by Bill Viola. All elements placed on this axis are painted in a dark-blue/black colour, clearly contrasting with the white walls used for the other works. Besides, these elements – and with them the presence of the black- grow in size as the visitor advances towards the end of the exhibition : from a long and low showcase, to a large wall supporting the Caravaggio and ending with a full-height curtain leading to the all black projection room.

All graphical work relating to the exhibition is designed with a similar vocabulary : an alternating of white and black, referencing Caravaggio’s claire-obscure.
– a frame in the exact proportions of Caravaggio’s ‘Cena in Emmaus’ showing its omnipresence
– a co-existing of classical and contemporary typefaces for all the titles.

The superposition of these three elements of the vocabulary permits to create a certain depth as well as to create focus, either on the raised hand of the Christ figure, on the facial expressions of the actors in Bill Viola’s work or on a fine detail in the medieval etchings.

 

FACTS
Location : Musée des Beaux-Arts de Caen (Fr)
Program : 300 m² of temporary exhibition showing etchings, drawings, paintings and video
Client : Musée des Beaux-Arts de Caen, Ville de Caen
Partners : Oeil de Lynx
Date : 2015-2016

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