The Caravaggio Hoodie:
The 12-12-12 Sandy Relief Concert united old masters like the Stones, the Who, Bruce Springsteen, and Paul McCartney. Sharp-eyed art-history-minded viewers spotted an even older master on stage. He was Caravaggio.
The Italian painter’s Entombment of Christ, a 1602-04 painting owned by the Vatican, was emblazoned on the hoodie West wore that night to complement his Givenchy leather kilt. This neo-Baroque ensemble was designed by West’s creative adviser, Virgil Abloh, who appropriated the devastating post-Crucifixion scene for the “Youth Always Win” collection in his Pyrex brand. If you’re still looking for that art-themed holiday gift, the hoodie is available for $225; Abloh’s other Caravaggesque garments cost a bit less.
Even given Caravaggio’s reputation as a transgressive realist, it does seem a bit odd to see his naked, prostrate Christ adorning someone’s baseball cap, giving new meaning to the saying that his art is in your face. His Bacchus might have seemed been more appropriate. Yet, in its new setting, the iconic Christ figure more than holds its own. It really pops.
The Entombment of Christ line of urban wear is just one more example of the useful role that Europe’s Old Masters continue to serve as fodder, inspiration, and raw material for the arts. Read more about how your favorite artists from the Renaissance and beyond are infiltrating the contemporary-art domain at artnews.com.