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Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio

Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio was an Italian painter active in Rome, Naples, Malta, and Sicily from the early 1590s to 1610. His paintings combine a realistic observation of the human state, both physical and emotional, with a dramatic use of lighting, which had a formative influence on Baroque painting.

Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio, known simply as Caravaggio, was an Italian Baroque painter whose revolutionary approach to art left an indelible mark on the trajectory of Western painting. Born in Milan in 1571, Caravaggio's life was marked by both artistic brilliance and personal tumult, contributing to the captivating allure of his work.

Caravaggio's early life was characterized by a series of formative experiences, including his move to Rome in the late 1590s. In Rome, he quickly gained attention for his innovative style, characterized by a dramatic use of light and shadow, a heightened realism, and a focus on naturalism.

One of Caravaggio's defining contributions to art was his use of chiaroscuro, a technique that emphasizes the stark contrast between light and dark. This technique not only heightened the dramatic impact of his paintings but also brought a new level of naturalism to his depictions of human figures and everyday objects.

Caravaggio's early works include religious scenes such as "The Calling of Saint Matthew" and "The Supper at Emmaus," which showcased his ability to infuse profound spiritual subjects with a raw, human immediacy. His subjects were often drawn from the Bible, yet Caravaggio presented them in a manner that resonated with the human experience, portraying biblical figures as real people with emotions and flaws.

The artist's unconventional approach extended beyond his technique to his choice of models. Caravaggio frequently used common people as models for his religious figures, shunning the idealized representations prevalent in Renaissance art. This realistic portrayal of religious subjects stirred controversy but also contributed to the accessibility and relatability of his art.

Caravaggio's personal life was marked by a series of quarrels, brawls, and legal troubles. His volatile temperament often found expression in his art, where themes of violence, passion, and realism were recurrent. Despite his tumultuous lifestyle, Caravaggio found significant patronage from both ecclesiastical and secular circles, attesting to the power and originality of his artistic vision.

One of Caravaggio's most famous and controversial works is "Judith Beheading Holofernes," a visceral portrayal of the biblical scene. The painting captures the brutal act with shocking realism, reflecting Caravaggio's willingness to confront and challenge established artistic norms.

In 1606, Caravaggio's life took a dark turn when he became involved in a fatal brawl that resulted in the death of a man named Ranuccio Tomassoni. Fleeing Rome, Caravaggio entered a period of exile and lived in Naples, Malta, and Sicily. Despite his troubles, Caravaggio continued to produce remarkable works during this time, including "The Beheading of Saint John the Baptist" and "Salome with the Head of John the Baptist."



Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio


Personal Details


Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio

Place of birth


Date of Birth

29 September 1571(1571-09-29)

Date of Death

18 July 1610 (aged 38)







Caravaggio's impact extended beyond his own lifetime. His revolutionary style influenced a generation of artists known as the Caravaggisti, who emulated his dramatic lighting and naturalistic approach. Notable followers included Artemisia Gentileschi and Orazio Gentileschi, both of whom adapted Caravaggio's techniques in their own works.

Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio died under mysterious circumstances in 1610, at the age of 38. Despite his relatively short career, Caravaggio's influence endured, and his legacy persisted through the Baroque period and beyond. His works, often imbued with a sense of theatricality and emotional intensity, continue to captivate viewers and inspire artists to this day.

The rediscovery of Caravaggio's genius in the 20th century further solidified his status as a master of Baroque art. His paintings, whether depicting religious scenes, mythological subjects, or everyday life, remain timeless in their ability to engage viewers with their emotional power and unflinching realism. Caravaggio's contributions to art history lie not only in his technical innovations but also in his ability to bring a profound human dimension to the visual representation of the divine.


Works Of Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio

Supper at Emmaus by Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio    Bacchus by Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio