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'Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio: A Transnational and Transmedial Icon'

Dr Laura Rorato, Senior Lecturer in Italian, University of Hull

Abstract: According to the art historian Patrick Hunt ‘Caravaggio is the most renowned Old Master of recent times. More articles, books, exhibitions, films and novels have been devoted to him than to all of his contemporaries combined’ (p. ix). If Caravaggio’s iconic status and transnational popularity can almost be taken for granted today, what is still relatively unexplored is the painter’s impact across different media, in particular in the some areas of popular culture like music, dancing, theatre, fashion, advertising and graffiti. Dr Rorato’s research paper will focus in particular on fashion, advertising and graffiti as all three cultural forms are visually very powerful but work in very different ways. The paper will fit very well within the context of our Centres for Translating Cultures and for Intermedia as well as our brand-new term 2 MA module in ‘Translation as Intercultural and Intermedia practice’, as it will explore intermediality through the analysis of a popular Italian icon. In particular, through a series of case studies the paper will address the following questions: 1) What makes Caravaggio such a globally iconic figure today? 2) What kind of mechanisms facilitate the ‘transition’ of a canonical artist from the museum to the market place? 3) What happens to the original “meaning” of an artist’s work when his/her image moves across different cultural forms?

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Queens Building LT2