The first in-depth study of the Utrecht artist to address questions beyond connoisseurship and attribution, this book makes a significant contribution to Ter Brugghen and Northern Caravaggist studies. Focusing on the Dutch master's simultaneous use of Northern archaisms with Caravaggio's motifs and style, Natasha Seaman nuances our understanding of Ter Brugghen's appropriations from the Italian painter. Her analysis centers on four paintings, all depicting New Testament subjects. They include Ter Brugghen's largest and first known signed work (Crowning with Thorns), his most archaizing (the Crucifixion), and the two paintings most directly related to the works of Caravaggio (the Doubting Thomas and the Calling of Matthew). By examining the ways in which Ter Brugghen's paintings deliberately diverge from Caravaggio's, Seaman sheds new light on the Utrecht artist and his work. For example, she demonstrates that where Caravaggio's paintings are boldly illusionistic and mimetic, thus de-emphasizing their materiality, Ter Brugghen's works examined here create the opposite effect, connecting their content to their made form. This study not only illuminates the complex meanings of the paintings addressed here, but also offers insights into the image debates and the status of devotional art in Italy and Utrecht in the seventeenth century by examining one artist's response to them.
Natasha T. Seaman is Associate Professor of Art History at Rhode Island College, USA.
Contents: Introduction: art after iconoclasm: Hendrick ter Brugghen and the material image; A Dutch painter in Italy: the attraction and critique of Caravaggio; Archaism and the material image in Rome; An Italianate artist in Utrecht: art and archaism within and without the hidden church; Materiality and the presence of the past in Hendrick ter Brugghen's Crucifixion; Icon, narrative, and iconoclasm in the Crowning with Thorns; The theology of conversion in the Doubting Thomas and Calling of Matthew; Conclusion: moving past materiality: The Denial of Peter; Bibliography; Index.