Carlo crivelli

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

‘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. Nor the extraordinarily ugly baby Jesus clutching an apple as big as his head while his mother, understandably, averts her eyes. ‘Camp is playful, anti-serious,’ argued Sontag. Sontag wasn’t alone in not taking Crivelli (c.1430–95) seriously. Giorgio Vasari, who scorned the illusionism that some have taken to be Crivelli’s USP, erased him from his art history.