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From October 10, 2013 through January 13, 2014, the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) will present Caravaggio’s Saint Francis of Assisi in Ecstasy, one of the artist’s earliest masterpieces. The painting, which is on loan from the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art in Hartford, CT, will be exhibited alongside the DIA’s own painting by Caravaggio, Martha and Mary Magdalene.

Salvador Salort-Pons, the DIA’s executive director, Collections Strategies and Information, said, “Caravaggio influenced many painters from other European countries who came to Rome to learn the master’s dramatic and realistic style. Visitors will be able to explore two of the best Caravaggios in America side by side in the same gallery.” Saint Francis of Assisi in Ecstasy is most likely the first religious scene that Caravaggio painted, a genre for which he is admired. It is also one of the artist’s few nightscapes, showcasing Caravaggio’s masterful use of light.

While Saint Francis of Assisi in Ecstasy is one of the Italian master’s first religious paintings, Martha and Mary Magdalene is one of Caravaggio’s first known religious works staged in an interior. Side by side, the paintings will allow patrons to compare and contrast two of artist’s most spiritually and emotionally charged early works.

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