Caravaggio Used 'Photography' to Create Dramatic Masterpieces

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16th century master used modern darkroom techniques to create his
masterpieces, more than 200 years before the invention of the camera.

Italian researchers
claim the technique explained why many of his subjects were left-handed
– the image projected onto the canvas had been reversed.

Art historian
Roberta Lapucci said Caravaggio’s dramatic ‘chiaroscuro’ style of
light and shadow was based on "a whole set of techniques that
are the basis of photography".

Art history
scholars have long known that Caravaggio worked in a sort of darkroom,
illuminating his subjects through a hole in the ceiling and projecting
the image onto a canvas using a lens and a mirror.

But Mrs Lapucci
is the first researcher to suggest that he treated the canvas with
light-sensitive substances, including a luminescent powder made
from crushed fireflies, in order to "fix" the image as
19th century photographers later would.

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12, 2009

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