Is It Any Good?

The latest fine-art offering from the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

There were a lot of Michelangelos in the world of Art. The one you know about is the one who did the Sistine Chapel. The one you may not know about is the guy who’s work is currently on display at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio (or just Caravaggio for short) was one of the finest painters of his age. There was an earthieness about his work. His art carried with it the streets and the smells of Italy. While he was feverishly devout, his artwork carried with it, a touch of the human. He always sought to caputre a moment as is, no ifs ands or buts abou tit. His paintings weren’t trying to make icons out of his subjects, he wasn’t trying to raise them up. He brought them down to our level, but in doing so he made the events he painted that much more approachable, that much more human.

He was also a raving sociopath.

Yeah, Caravaggio was one of the original “likes to fight guys”. He was also a “likes to get drunk and go whoring guys”. He also had a temper than made Mount Vesuvius look mild in comparison. Any reason was a reason to go for this guy. Of course, one time, it went bad, and the guy he was fighting…well…died. Caravaggio was exiled, and died a short time later desperately trying to get his life back.

Which brings to the LACMA exhibit.

Folks, there’s no other way to put this, you’re gonna be disappointed, at least a little.

The trick (and this almost counts as an important safety tip) is in the Exhibition’s title: “Bodies and Shadows: Caravaggio and his Legacy.”

Legacy? Well, what the hell does that mean?

Well, that means in an exhibition of about 70-80 paintings (ballpark guess), a grand total of eight of them are actual Caravaggios, and none of them his major works. Everything else are either from contemporaries of Caravaggio’s, or Artists coveirng the same subject matter as Caravaggio. Those of you expecting to see a mess of the Master’s work are gonna be disappointed.

Still, you got to remember, as much as I love LACMA and all its good works, it’s not on the same plane as my hometown National Gallery, or the New York Metropolitian Musuem of Art.  They get the good stuff.  They may not get the consideration that other museums get as far as that level of exhibit.

Then again, Italy may not want to part with any of the good stuff, so…there’s that.

All I’m saying is that this may have been the best LACMA could have done. In any respect, even seven or eight Caravaggios, even minor ones, are worth coming down to see.  Just don’t expect more than that.


IMPORTANT SAFETY TIP, PEOPLE: Minor disappointment and all that, they still are strictly regulating the number of people who come through, so get a ticket early.

The Exhibit is at the Resnick Pavillion, and running till Feb. 10, 2013.


PARKING: Allow me to quote the LACMA article for Parking Information:

Fantastically easy, but pricey. LACMA has a massive underground Garage that you can roll into for Ten Bucks (as a Member). I’d recommend it no matter the price because it is underground, and your car won’t bake as you’re touring the classics. But there is street parking available nearby.



Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA)
5905 Wilshire Boulevard
Los Angeles, California 90036
(323) 857-6000

Mon-Tue, Thu: 12–8pm
Wed: Closed
Fri: 12–9pm
Sat-Sun: 11am–8pm