Stuart Jeffries

Renaissance radical: Carlo Crivelli – Shadows on the Sky at Ikon Gallery reviewed

The Venetian artist's ideas and innovations are finally being taking seriously

An extraordinarily ugly baby Jesus clutches an apple as big as his head while his mother, understandably, averts her eyes:‘Virgin and Child, c.1480, by Carlo Crivelli. Credit: © Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

‘Camp,’ wrote Susan Sontag, ‘is the paintings of Carlo Crivelli, with their real jewels and trompe-l’oeil insects and cracks in the masonry.’ She didn’t even mention the renaissance painter’s curious cucumber fetish. Nor the unwittingly comedic homoeroticism of his portrait of Saint Roch, one stocking rolled down coquettishly to reveal a decorous inner-thigh wound.

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