|Mattia Preti by Michele Guerrisi, Taverna Civic Museum|
Are you familiar with Mattia Preti, the Italian Baroque artist known as the Cavaliere Calabrese or the Calabrian Knight? The paintings of this important exponent of the Neapolitan School grace churches and museums around the world. His hometown in Calabria also boasts numerous of the artist’s masterworks, and a visit to Taverna opens a window on his long and noteworthy career.
Mattia Preti (24 February 1613 – 3 January 1699): Calabria, Rome, Naples, Malta
Mattia Preti hails from Taverna, a town with ancient origins located in the foothills of the Sila Mountains about a half hour’s drive north of Catanzaro, the region’s capital. As a young man in 1630, he moved from the small commercial center of the Sila to Rome, where his older brother Gregorio (1603–1672), also an artist, already resided. Immersed in the glow of Caravaggio and his followers, Mattia developed his own style under the influence of the great master’s, in particular with regard to his technique of creating images that appear to emerge directly from the canvas. The drama of this almost theatrical use of light is apparent in Preti’s work. Continue reading