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Andy Xu ’21 Presents Guild Paper on Painter Caravaggio

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Andy Xu ’21 Presents Guild Paper on Painter Caravaggio

Brandon Schuster '19

Brandon Schuster '19

Brandon Schuster '19

Brandon Schuster, Campus Reporter

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On Monday, April 8, the Kent community witnessed a rare accomplishment: the completion of a research paper authored by a sophomore submitted to the Kent School Guild. The culmination of months of research and writing, the findings of the paper were presented at night to a crowd in Dickinson Auditorium.

The author and aspiring art historian, Andy Xu ’21, captivated the audience, composed of students, teachers, members of the Guild, and his faculty advisor Ms. Lynch, with his passion and clear knowledge on his topic, the work of painter Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio and the use of tenebrism in his work.

Xu began the presentation with a striking image of Caravaggio’s The Calling of St. Matthew and continued in the next forty-five minutes to explain and discuss more paintings, including Boy with a Basket of Fruit, Madonna of Loreto, and Supper at Emmaus.

With each example, he clearly demonstrated the innovative use of tenebrism, which is the exaggeration of chiaroscuro for dramatic effect.

Each painting shown also worked to build up to a final argument that Caravaggio’s use of tenebrism in his work was not only innovative and revolutionary in Christian artwork–drawing from new Christian thought–but actually also increased the emotional effect and realism of the final piece of artwork.

A question and answer period followed, where the audience both probed further into Xu’s research and expressed their admiration toward his paper and presentation.

When asked about his inspiration for the project, Xu responds, “The first time I was inspired was when I was in second grade and really amazed by that kind of historical artifact. Personally, I was already interested in history, so I just fell in love with art history.”

He goes on to explain that it was Caravaggio’s work, especially the contrast between the lights and darks, that amazed him initially.

When asked what comes next for him, he excitedly responds that he is ready to “challenge [himself] with studying landscapes and both Romantic and neoclassical art.” If he decides to share the fruits of this next labor with Kent, this Guild paper should serve to assure us that it will surely be passionate and exciting.

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Andy Xu ’21 Presents Guild Paper on Painter Caravaggio