Journal Article

Caravaggio, empathy and Christ


In this paper I distinguish the range of empathetic relations that are experienced by viewers of the works of Caravaggio, and clarify the role that the body, physiognomy and gesture play in our experience and understanding of those works. Recent work in the philosophy of mind and cognitive science will inform the discussion. In §1 I explore presence and how Caravaggio makes his works alive to us. §2 considers how we come to empathize with the emotions, feelings and thoughts of those he depicts. §3 turns to empathetic relations between artist and viewer, and §4 considers the distinction between works that are intended for viewing in Church and those painted for private galleries.

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O'Brien, Dan

Oxford Brookes departments

Department of History, Philosophy and Culture


Year of publication: 2020
Date of RADAR deposit: 2020-10-09

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