Michael Fried, Ph.D.
J. R. Herbert Boone Professor of Humanities
Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore
Born in 1939 in New York City
Studied English at Princeton University and Art History at Harvard University
The Moment of CaravaggioIn spring 2002 I gave the Andrew W. Mellon Lectures in the Fine Arts at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D. C. on the art of Caravaggio. My main project will be to complete the task of making those lectures into a book. I also plan to write several essays on topics in contemporary art and to continue work on a volume of poems.
Fried, Michael. Absorption and Theatricality: Painting and Beholder in the Age of Diderot. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1980, 1986, 2003.
Fried, Michael. Art and Objecthood: Essays and Reviews. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1998.
Fried, Michael. Menzel's Realism: Art and Embodiment in Nineteenth-Century Berlin. New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2002.
Fried, Michael. The Next Bend in the Road (poems). Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 2004.
Tuesday Colloquium, 13.11.2007
The Moment of Caravaggio
I) Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio: Some Basic Dates
Born 1571 in Milan or Caravaggio.
1584-88, studies with Simone Peterzano in Milan.
1592 or 1593, arrives in Rome.
1595, moves into Palazzo Madama, home of Cardinal del Monte. From this point on enjoys patronage of various influential collectors.
1599, first major public commission, to paint Life of St. Matthew series for Contarelli Chapel of San Luigi dei Francesi. Others follow. Throughout next years great success but also repeated crises as paintings are rejected by those commissioning them. Continual trouble with police.
1606, fatally wounds Ranuccio Tomassoni, flees Rome, charged with murder. Flight to Naples.
1607, goes to Malta to begin novitiate with Knights of Malta.
1608, made Knight of Malta, paints altarpiece of Beheading of St. John the Baptist. Assaults a senior Knight, imprisoned, escapes, flees to Sicily.
1609, by autumn back in Naples.
1610, attacked and seriously wounded.
1610, promised papal pardon, leaves Naples by sea, arrested en route. Mid-July, dies of fever at Porto Ercolano, probably buried there.
II) Other Painters Mentioned in this Colloquium
Annibale Carracci (1560-1609)
Henri Matisse (1869-1954)
Gustave Courbet (1819-1877)
Gustave Caillebotte (1848-1894)
Adolph Menzel (1815-1905)
III) The Moment of Caravaggio (six lectures)
Boy Bitten by a Lizard
Immersion and Specularity
The Invention of Absorption
Which Way Does a Painting Face?
The Internal Structure of the Pictorial Act
IV) A Question
What is the deep (historical, ontological) significance of the fact that crucial paintings by the two arch-realists in Western art (Caravaggio and Courbet) have as their underlying structure the depiction of the painter in the act of making the work in question?