barber institute of fine arts
university of birmingham


WORKS OF MERCY

Photographs by Attilio Fiumarella

A painting by the great Italian Baroque artist Caravaggio, depicting the seven corporal acts of mercy of traditional Catholicism, is the inspiration for this outstanding series of 14 dramatic images. Like his predecessor, Birmingham-based photographer Fiumarella uses real people as his models – in this case, the homeless and prostitutes from the streets of Porto – their nakedness or semi-nakedness emphasizing their humanity and vulnerability and evoking our compassion. These challenging works reveal the constant interplay of light and dark, body and spirit, male and female and life and death, as they illustrate both the corporal and spiritual works of mercy.

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