Michelangelo Caravaggio ( * 1573 † 1610 )

Portrait of Caravaggio (Michelangelo Merisi)

The Rebel of Baroque - Shadows, Light, and Scandal


Michelangelo Merisi, universally known as Caravaggio, painted his way into history with a palette of brilliance and controversy, having first breathed life into the world on September 29, 1571, in Milan. His early artistic endeavors, nurtured by Simone Peterzano, laid a foundation robust enough to support his indomitable spirit and revolutionary techniques in painting. Journeying to Rome in 1592, Caravaggio encountered a crucible of poverty and disregard, a stark contrast to the recognition and patronage he would soon garner from Cardinal Francesco del Monte, propelling him to the very pinnacles of artistic and societal echelons.

Caravaggio was not simply a painter; he was a maestro of tenebrism, manipulating light and shadow (chiaroscuro) to evoke raw emotion and a potent three-dimensionality in his subjects, thereby redefining the visual expectations of the Baroque period. His illustrious yet contentious career saw him receive acclaim for major works, such as those at Capella Contarelli and iconic pieces like "Narcissus" and "Cupid the Winner". While his penchant for portraying biblical scenes and alluring youths with palpable realism and naturalism won him admirers, it also drew the ire and criticism from church and public alike, his provocative presentations often dancing on the edge of acceptability and decency.

Fame, fortune, and notoriety interwove in the turbulent tapestry of Caravaggio’s existence. Beyond his masterful artworks, he was equally known for a life marred and embellished by violent outbursts, insatiable desires for alcohol and gambling, and a seeming propensity for finding trouble, which saw him flee to locales like Naples and Sicily. His transient, tumultuous life was shrouded in myths and stories, revealing a man whose external world was as dark, dramatic, and intense as the shadows that played across his canvases. Passing away under mysterious circumstances at the mere age of 38 in Porto Ercole, Caravaggio left behind a legacy as tempestuous and enigmatic as the man himself.


Wall art prints and famous paintings by Michelangelo Caravaggio
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