Carlo Crivelli was a renaissance painter who concerned himself with religious portraits and iconography. Living 15th Century Venice, he had to leave after being jailed for committing adultery. He then resided in the Marche region of Italy where he developed his craft as a painter of religious subjects. Now his work is having its first exhibition in the UK at Birmingham’s lovely Ikon Gallery, with works on loan from the likes of The National Gallery and The Vatican.
The Exhibition, which is on until 29th May is made up of small panels, alter pieces and stand alone pieces of work. The works are stunning in their detail and use of colour and light. particularly in, what is to me the standout piece of the exhibition, ‘The Annunciation, with Saint Emidius’ (1486), which shows a gold divine light flooding across the picture, following the passage of a dove, and looking like it was painted just yesterday, so clear and bright in its images.
Another stunning piece is much smaller, the painting of the Catholic martyred princess Saint Catherine of Alexandria (c. 1491-94), which shows the lady now most famous as the namesake of a firework in a princess like red/orange gown. It is a beautiful, almost romantic piece, if you don’t dwell on the tragic demise of the lady in the picture.
It is fantastic that Carlo Crivelli is now getting some real recognition for the beauty of his paintings in a dedicated exhibition, and that these paintings are getting shown outside of London/The Vatican. The exhibition is wonderfully staged at The Ikon, more usually known for its modern art focus, but using the bare walls as a black canvas, the colours of the paintings really come through. This is an exhibition that is well worth seeing for anyone with a love of religious art and beauty in general.