Caravaggio Caravaggio

Caravaggio was a provocative and important Italian painter. He created some of the most magnificent works of art, including the "Calling of Saint Matthew," "Supper at Emmaus," "Judith Beheading Holofernes,"  "Young Sick Bacchus." and "Narcissus," 

Caravaggio (born On September 29, 1571, in Milan or Caravaggio [Italy]—died July 18/19, 1610, Porto Ercole, Tuscany) was a renowned Italian artist of the late 16th and early 17th century known for the vivid and unnerving realism of his large-scale religious paintings.

His amazing masterpieces, such as 'David with the Head of Goliath,' and 'The Death of the Virgin' influenced a generation of artists to provide a fresh source of optimism to the art world. Furthermore, his art was known for his spectacular illumination style, which employed shadow to highlight the lighter regions. His work catapulted modern painting into the spotlight and influenced painters from Diego Velazquez to Rembrandt.

He worked quickly with live models, avoiding sketching and working directly on the canvas. His influence on the emerging Baroque style that sprang from Mannerism was tremendous. His influence may be observed in the work of Peter Paul Rubens, Gian Lorenzo Bernini, Jusepe de Ribera, and Rembrandt, whether directly or indirectly. Artists highly influenced by him were known as "Caravaggisti" and tenebrism or tenebrosity.

Caravaggio Early Life

Fermo Merisi and his second wife, Lucia Aratori, had their first child, the artist. He was presumably born in the fall of 1571 in the little village of Caravaggio in the archdiocese of Cremona, after which he was afterward called. Michelangelo's Christian name implies that he was born on September 29, the holy day of the Archangel Michael.

Despite claims by Giulio Mancini, creator of a biography of Caravaggio's early biographies, that perhaps the artist's father was majordomo and architecture to the mighty Francesco Sforza I, marchese di Caravaggio, the archaeological record indicates a more humble fact.

Caravaggio's parents did have ties to the Italian aristocracy, albeit only on his mother's side. Giovan Giacomo Aratori, his maternal grandfather, was a land appraiser who worked for Francesco Sforza I, acting as a legal testimony for the Sforza family and collecting payments on their behalf. Caravaggio's maternal aunt, Margarita Aratori, had been a wet nurse to the infants of Francesco Sforza I & his wife, Costanza Colonna, Marchesa of Caravaggio.

His childhood was split between his hometown of Caravaggio and the bustling metropolis of Milan, wherein his father ran a shop. A highly contagious outbreak hit Milan in the summertime of 1576. According to the parish statistics for that year, the artist, who was around five years old, and his family were still living there. By the fall of the ensuing year, and most likely earlier, they had returned to Caravaggio to evade the plague, which must have spread to epidemic proportions, killing one-fifth of the local inhabitants. They fled, but in vain.

Influence of Caravaggio

Milan was ruled during Caravaggio's developmental years by its fiery Charles Borromeo (later Saint Charles Borromeo) and Counter-Reformation archbishop, Borromeo, whose exhortation achieved a fever pitch both before and after the great epidemic, felt that the Catholic community had fallen into such an abyss of iniquity out of which it couldn't be redeemed by turning to Jesus Christ's most fundamental doctrines.

He emphasized Jesus' and his followers' poverty and felt that it was the church's sacred responsibility to reach out to the poor, who he saw as living embodiments of Jesus Christ. Borromeo's choices in religious art were similarly straightforward and strong. 

He had no time for High Renaissance or Mannerism work that was erudite and intellectually difficult. Instead, he prefers, therefore, more visceral and naturalistic superstitions of folk art exemplified by that of the Sacro monte, or "sacred mountain," at Varallo, close Milan: a famous pilgrimage site composed of a series of chapels wherein polychrome figures organized in elaborate and quite often gruesome tableaux pour les enfants reenact narratives from the life of Jesus Christ.

In 1592, Caravaggio fled Lombardy. He wouldn't ever be returned to his birthplace. A series of court records from either the late 1580s or 1590s indicate Caravaggio's sale of a few tiny plots of property he received from his family. The exact regulations governing his escape from Milan are unknown. However, supplementary notes in a manuscripts copy of Giulio Mancini's earliest narrative of Caravaggio's life imply that he had been implicated in some violent episode involving the death of a police officer. So it appears he started his career as he planned to end it, as a guy in legal difficulty.

First Apprenticeships In Rome

Like many other ambitious painters, Caravaggio moved to Rome in search of a job. Clement VIII, the freshly elected Pope, was resolved to convert the city into a visible emblem of a revitalized and flourishing Catholic religion. New churches were being erected, and ancient churches were being renovated, with many altarpieces and artworks being acquired. Out of an overall population of 100,000, around 2,000 artisans resided and operated in the city.

They were given their quarter, a two-square-mile region between the Piazza del Popolo and the Piazza di Spagna where they concentrated in separate communities based on their origin. The competition was fierce between the various groups and independent artists, and it regularly erupted into feuds and personal grudges. Rome was indeed a city of irregular migrants' priorities, pilgrims wanting salvation, mercenary warriors seeking work—and a location where social differences were more flexible compared to other, less feudal regions of the city.

Many people seeking fame and money in that opportunistic milieu appeared to have a higher social position than their birth deserved and acted following a debased interpretation of the old aristocratic rules of honor, in which the least imagined affront or harm was responded with force. Caravaggio's numerous clashes and confrontations with others fit within a larger pattern of violence; therefore, it would be incorrect to regard his irregular behavior as strange or unique.

Patronage of Cardinal Del Monte of Caravaggio

Throughout the mid-1590s, Caravaggio struggled to meet expenses, so he sought various picture merchants in Rome. He began working with Costantino Spata, who had a business in the square next to the church of San Luigi dei Francesi. Spata introduced Caravaggio to his most significant Francesco Cardinal Maria del Monte and early patron, who lived at the neighboring Palazzo Madama.

In the Gypsy Fortune Teller and the Cardsharps, in each, a teenage boy is duped out of his riches by a flamboyant rogue or tricksters. In some ways, the paintings allegorically recreate Caravaggio's strategy in painting them, which was to trap a wealthy man. Not just to did del Monte buy both pieces, but he also provided Caravaggio with board and lodging, fostered his progress as a painter, and landed him other jobs.

Caravaggio's The Musicians of 1595-96, a strange picture of musicians rehearsing originally exhibited in del Monte's music chamber in the Palazzo Madama, depicts the cardinal's melancholy exploratory musical patronage. Four lads tune their equipment or read over their charts in preparation for their performance, implying that they are anticipating the energizing appearance of del Monte himself.

Caravaggio, who dressed black not merely because it was trendy but presumably to avoid discovery in Rome's dark alleys at night, would be jailed multiple times in the years that followed. The artist's statements in court following his incarceration on May 4, 1598, for carrying weaponry in a public location reflect a strong taste of his haughty and caustic personality: "I was caught last night...because I was indeed carrying a sword."

During his formative days under the cardinal's patronage, Caravaggio produced several additional paintings on musical subjects. He also created Boy with a Basket of Fruit, motionless life bearing religious sacramental overtones, borne by the dichotomy between worm-eaten apples and grapes, representing ephemeral flesh and the salvation of Jesus' blood in the shape of holy wine, correspondingly.

Some Popular Work

During that time, he was granted the contract for the painting of the Counterelli Chapel in the Church of San Luigi dei Francesi in Rome, wherein he created 'Saint Matthew and the Angel,' 'the summoning of Saint Matthew,' and 'the martyrdom of Saint Matthew,' he created three outstanding masterpieces.

The Last Days

In 1606 he got into many difficulties when he stabbed a well-known Roman pimp called Ranuccio Tomassoni. The causes are still unknown and intriguing. This Italian painter's lunacy did not stop there; he maintained his brutality and assaulted numerous others for reasons that are still unclear. Despite his best efforts to flee, he was apprehended and imprisoned for the attack. However, to evade penalties, he engaged in several illicit enterprises. He died of natural causes on July 18, 1610, after resuming his voyage and arriving at Port'Ercole. His demise has been shrouded in mystery. Even though his life ended in tragedy, his abilities have enlightened countless future masters.

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Doubting Thomas

Doubting Thomas

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Calling of St. Matthew (Vocazione di san Matteo)
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Seven Works of Mercy

Seven Works of Mercy

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Conversion of St. Paul

Conversion of St. Paul

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The Incredulity of Saint Thomas
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The Incredulity of Saint Thomas

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Supper at Emmaus 1601-02

Supper at Emmaus 1601-02

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