Caravaggio

Italian, 1571-1610
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Caravaggio oil paintings
Caravaggio : St. John the Baptist as a Child
Musei Capitolini in Rome
Caravaggio : Amor Victorious
Staatliche Museen at Berlin
Caravaggio : St. John the Baptist
Nelson Gallery at Kansas City
Caravaggio : Martha and Mary Magdalene
approx. 1595, Detroit Institute of Arts
Caravaggio : Narcissus
Galleria Nazionale de Arte Antica, Rome
Caravaggio : The Conversion of St.
Paul, copy (original, painted 1600, is lost), Odescalchi Balbi Collection
Caravaggio : The Conversion on the Way to Damascus
Santa Maria del Popolo, Rome
Caravaggio : St John the Baptist
Offentliche Kunstsammlung, Basel
Caravaggio : The Annunciation
approx. 1609, Musee des Beaux-Arts, Nancy
Caravaggio : The Lute Player
Private collection, New York
Caravaggio : The Supper at Emmaus
1600-01, The National Gallery at London
Caravaggio : St. Francis in Ecstasy
approx. 1595, oil on canvas, Wadsworth Atheneum at Hartford, Connecticut
Caravaggio : Still-Life with Flowers and Fruit
Galleria Borghese, Rome
Caravaggio : Youth Bitten by a Green Lizard
Longhi Collection, Florence
Caravaggio : Rest During the Flight into Egypt
Galleria Doria Pamphili, Rome
Caravaggio : Judith and Holofernes
Galleria Nazionale di Arte Antica, Rome
Caravaggio : The Calling of St. Matthew
San Luigi dei Francesi, Rome
Caravaggio : The Doubting of St.
Thomas, Neues Palais, Potsdam
Caravaggio : Madonna dei Pellegrini
Sant'Agostino, Rome
Caravaggio : Supper in Emmaus
Pinacoteca di Brera, Milan
Caravaggio : The Death of the Virgin
Musee du Louvre, Paris
Caravaggio : The Seven Acts of Mercy
Church of Pio Monte della Misericordia, Naples
Caravaggio : Madonna del Rosario
Art History Museum, Vienna
Caravaggio : The Flagellation of Christ
Pinacoteca di Capodimonte, Naples
Caravaggio : Salome with the Head of the Baptist
National Gallery, London
Caravaggio : David with the Head of Goliath
Art History Museum, Vienna
Caravaggio : The Beheading of the Baptist
St. John Museum, La Valletta.
Caravaggio : The Cardsharps (I Bari)
approx. 1595, Kimbell Art Museum, Fort Worth
Caravaggio : David and Goliath
undated, oil on canvas, Museo del Prado at Madrid
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Biography
Artist photo

Amerighi da Caravaggio or Michelangelo Merisi (29 September 1571 - 18 July 1610) was an Italian artist active in Rome, Naples, Malta, and Sicily between 1592 (1595) and 1610. His paintings, which combine a realistic observation of the human state, both physical and emotional, with a dramatic use of lighting, had a formative influence on the Baroque school of painting.

Caravaggio trained as a painter in Milan under Simone Peterzano who had himself trained under Titian. In his twenties Caravaggio moved to Rome where, during the late 16th and early 17th centuries, many huge new churches and palazzi were being built and paintings were needed to fill them. During the Counter-Reformation, the Roman Catholic Church searched for religious art with which to counter the threat of Protestantism, and for this task the artificial conventions of Mannerism, which had ruled art for almost a century, no longer seemed adequate.

Caravaggio's novelty was a radical naturalism that combined close physical observation with a dramatic, even theatrical, use of chiaroscuro. This came to be known as Tenebrism, the shift from light to dark with little intermediate value. He burst upon the Rome art scene in 1600 with the success of his first public commissions, the Martyrdom of Saint Matthew and Calling of Saint Matthew. Thereafter he never lacked commissions or patrons, yet he handled his success poorly. He was jailed on several occasions, vandalized his own apartment, and ultimately had a death warrant issued for him by the Pope.

An early published notice on him, dating from 1604 and describing his lifestyle three years previously, tells how "after a fortnight's work he will swagger about for a month or two with a sword at his side and a servant following him, from one ball-court to the next, ever ready to engage in a fight or an argument, so that it is most awkward to get along with him." In 1606 he killed a young man in a brawl and fled from Rome with a price on his head. He was involved in a brawl in Malta in 1608, and another in Naples in 1609, possibly a deliberate attempt on his life by unidentified enemies. This encounter left him severely injured. A year later, at the age of 38, he died under mysterious circumstances in Porto Ercole, reportedly from a fever while on his way to Rome to receive a pardon.

Famous while he lived, Caravaggio was forgotten almost immediately after his death, and it was only in the 20th century that his importance to the development of Western art was rediscovered. Despite this, his influence on the new Baroque style that eventually emerged from the ruins of Mannerism was profound. It can be seen directly or indirectly in the work of Rubens, Jusepe de Ribera, Bernini, and Rembrandt, and artists in the following generation heavily under his influence were called the "Caravaggisti" or "Caravagesques", as well as Tenebrists or "Tenebrosi" ("shadowists"). Art historian Andre Berne-Joffroy said of him: "What begins in the work of Caravaggio is, quite simply, modern painting."



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