Castration on a Tennis Court & Other Stories

  • The List
  • 11 August 2013

This article is from 2013

Castration on a Tennis Court & Other Stories

Fringe show exploring Carravaggio by art historian Andrew Graham-Dixon

Art historian and broadcaster Andrew Graham-Dixon has constantly returned to the life and work of the troubled Italian baroque painter Caravaggio throughout his career, and now he’s bringing him to one of the few mediums Dixon hasn’t yet used – the Fringe show. ‘Caravaggio’s life is dark, turbulent and deeply fascinating,’ he says. ‘I’m telling his story because I want to save him and his work from the old academic and romantic cliches, to show that he wasn’t just some wayward, inspired outsider, but a real human being, suffering under the burden of an appalling, traumatised childhood, who managed to wrestle from the circumstances of his own predicament a way of seeing and painting human life that deserves to be more richly and deeply appreciated.’

Dixon has experienced the Fringe as an audience member before, he says, the most memorable event being ‘a fantastically ambitious but tragically ill-attended German language version of Ubu Roi performed by seven heroic actors using a massively complex and expensive shifting electrical stage.’ He recalls a lone voice yelling at the actors to speak in English and is thankful he’s just one man with a Powerpoint presentation. ‘Caravaggio doesn’t belong to people who like art, he belongs to everybody,’ he says. ‘His work is for anyone with eyes. He didn’t elevate things, didn’t pay any attention to hierarchy, so I think his work belongs more in the maelstrom of the Fringe than on a pedestal.’

theSpace @ Symposium Hall, Edinburgh, Tue 13–Sat 24 Aug, £8 (£6), times vary.

Castration on a Tennis Court and Other Stories

Art historian, critic and BBC arts presenter Andrew Graham-Dixon animates the tragic life of probably the darkest and most dangerous of any of the great painters, Caravaggio. Cursed by his genius, Caravaggio was a walking, painting ASBO with a long list of thuggish assaults attached to his name. In this historical…