Hendrick ter Brugghen St Sebastian Tended by Irene, 1625

and Europe

17 April
to 21 July
Hendrick ter Brugghen St Sebastian Tended by Irene, 1625

On the following evenings the exhibition will close earlier due to an event: June 18th, 19th at 6 p.m. | June 25th, 26th 8 p.m.

Alte Pinakothek
Barer Straße 27 – 80333 Munich

What a shock

it must have been for Hendrick ter Brugghen, Gerard van Honthorst, and Dirck van Baburen, three young painters from Utrecht, when they encountered the breathtaking and unorthodox paintings of Caravaggio for the first time in Rome. Described as 'miraculous things' his works were marked by an innovative realism, striking drama, and mysterious lighting and were to influence the style of many artists from Italy, France, Spain and the Netherlands.
The exhibition, developed in collaboration with the Centraal Museum in Utrecht, shows over 70 of the most beautiful and important works of the leading ‘Caravaggisti’, including paintings by Bartolomeo Manfredi, Jusepe de Ribera, and Valentin de Boulogne and Caravaggio himself.


In 1600, Rome was the cultural centre of the world. The growing metropolis attracted artists and architects from all over Europe. Among them were the painters from Utrecht, Hendrick ter Brugghen, Gerard van Honthorst, and Dirck van Baburen. They studied the art of antiquity in the city as well as masterpieces of the Renaissance. However, their main interest was in the revolutionary innovations in the painting of their times, including, in particular, those of Michelangelo Merisi, known as Caravaggio. Caravaggio was regarded as an impassioned hothead who brought about radical change in painting with new pictorial themes, realism of a kind that had never been known before, and strong contrasts between light and dark. The many artists that flocked to Rome from all points of the compass came from a variety of cultural backgrounds. They had trained under different masters, in disparate styles and had their own personal goals and expectations of their time abroad. A total of 17 artists who sought fortune and success in Rome, and went about doing so in quite different ways, are represented at the exhibition.

In the Exhibition: Hendrick ter Brugghen, Gerard van Honthorst, Dirck van Baburen, Caravaggio, Bartolomeo Manfredi, Valentin de Boulogne, Jusepe de Ribera, Simon Vouet, Orazio Gentileschi, Nicolas Régnier, Nicolas Tournier, Gerard Seghers, Orazio Borgianni, Giovanni Serodine, Cecco del Caravaggio, Lo Spadarino, Theodoor Rombouts

Hendrick ter Brugghen

Hendrick ter Brugghen


Ter Brugghen was born the son of a senior civil servant in either The Hague or Utrecht. In Utrecht, he was a student of Abraham Bloemaert. The dates and stages of his journey to Italy are not documented; it is believed that he spent time in, among others, Rome, Naples and northern Italy. In the summer of 1614, he was verifiably in Milan, together with two fellow painters who were on their way home to the Netherlands. Ter Brugghen’s earliest extant painting was executed in Utrecht in 1616. That same year, he is already listed as a member of the Guild of St Luke and married Jacoba Verbeek. He lived in Utrecht until his death, with the exception of the years 1619 to 1621, during which he presumably made a second trip to Italy.

Gerard van Honthorst

Gerard van Honthorst


The son of a painter, Honthorst was born in Utrecht and trained in the workshop of Abraham Bloemaert. The year of his arrival in Rome is uncertain; the earliest document of his stay there is a drawing, dated 1616, after a painting by Caravaggio. Until his departure in 1620, he lived in the household of Benedetto and Vincenzo Giustiniani. In Rome, Honthorst received commissions from important patrons for altar and gallery paintings. Of these, his artificially lit night scenes in particular gained him notoriety, so much so that he was later nicknamed ‘Gherardo delle Notti’. Back in Utrecht, he ran a large workshop with numerous students, including Joachim von Sandrart. From April to December 1628, he worked at the English court of King Charles I and was granted English citizenship in November of the same year. In the following years, his international reputation grew in aristocratic circles. In 1640, he was elected president of the Utrecht painters’ guild. Honthorst died in Utrecht in 1656.

Dirck van Baburen

Dirck van Baburen

um 1592/93–1624

Born in Wijk bij Duurstede near Utrecht in c. 1592/93, Baburen received his early artistic training from Paulus Moreelse in Utrecht. In 1611, he is listed for the last time as a member of the local painters’ guild. Shortly thereafter, he travelled to Italy, where a painting in Parma, signed by him in 1615 and mentioned in historic sources, is considered the earliest evidence of his stay in Italy. In Rome, he occasionally lived together with his fellow countryman David de Haen and Nicolas Régnier. The most important commissioned works are his paintings for Pietro Cussida in the Pietà Chapel in San Pietro in Montorio. Baburen returned to Utrecht around 1620/21 and died there in 1624. During the final years of his life, he increasingly painted secular motifs, such as, for example, musicians as half-length figures.

Michelangelo Merisi, gen. Caravaggio

Michelangelo Merisi, gen. Caravaggio


Born the son of Fermo Merisi of Caravaggio in Milan, Michelangelo trained there from 1584 onwards as an apprentice to Simone Peterzano. The date of his arrival in Rome is not documented. In the mid-1590s, he was taken into the household of his patron, Cardinal Francesco Maria del Monte, in the Palazzo Madama. Through Del Monte, he met Vincenzo Giustiniani, another important patron. In 1599, Caravaggio received his first public commission, the painting of the altarpieces of the Contarelli Chapel; this was followed by the side paintings in the Cerasi Chapel. From 1602/03 on, he was commissioned to paint works for the most important Roman families, including the Matteis, the Barberinis and the Borgheses. In May 1606, Caravaggio killed Ranuccio Tomassoni in a dispute, whereupon he fled to Naples. From 1607 on, he stayed in Malta, but was forced to flee from the island the following year due to a conflict and, after a one-year sojourn in Sicily, returned to Naples. On his journey back to Rome, Caravaggio died in Porto Ercole on 18 July 1610.

Program Highlights

Virtual Reality Tour

Re-visit the whole exhibition digitally accompanied by audioguide and interactive elements!

Explore the World of the Caravaggisti at Google Arts&Culture


A comprehensive catalogue in German and English editions will be published to accompany the exhibition. The contributions shed light on the world of Utrecht Caravaggists and show how individually the young painters deal with the model of Caravaggio and thereby develop their very own style.

Hirmer Verlag, 34,90 euros, 304 pages with 330 colour illustrations, edited by Bernd Ebert and Liesbeth M. Helmus


On social media we want to discover the world of the Caravaggists together with you. Find current information, stories, videos and more for #PinaCaravaggisti via:


Patrons & partners

In cooperation with

This exhibition was made possible by

The supporting programme is funded by

The audio guide is supported by

Partner of the supporting programme

  • Blütenring e.V.
  • Fokus Tanz / Tanz und Schule e.V.
  • Circus Leopoldini München e.V.
  • Kino der Kunst
  • Theatiner Film
  • Italienisches Kulturinstitut München

  • Illustration artist portraits: Jörg Schwarzenbach