Helen Langdon’s ‘Caravaggio’

This course concentrates on one of the most common forms of art history writing – a biographical monograph about a single artist’s life and work. It focuses on the way that one author, Helen Langdon, has used biography in her book about one artist, Caravaggio.

The course was written by Dr Carol Richardson, a Senior Lecturer in History of Art at The University of Edinburgh’s College of Art, as a free course for The Open University.

Course description

Accounts of Caravaggio’s life are filled with suggestions of murder and intrigue. But does knowing more about this dark artist’s experiences help us to interpret his art? Or does understanding his motivations cloud their true meaning? This free course, Helen Langdon’s ‘Caravaggio’, explores the biographical monograph, one of the most common forms of art history writing.

After studying this course, you should be able to:

  • analyse the pros and cons of the biographical monograph in art history
  • examine the strengths and weaknesses of the biographical monograph in relation to other kinds of art history writing.

Go to Helen Langdon’s ‘Caravaggio’




Header Image: ‘The Calling of Saint Matthew’ by Caravaggio (1599-1600; Oil on canvas, 10′ 7 1/2″ X 11′ 2″; Contarelli Chapel, Church of San Luigi dei Francesi, Rome), Public Domain