Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio

DepositionMichelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio was a notable Italian artist known to be the first great representative of the Baroque style. Caravaggio, despite the widely acclaimed artistry during his time, led quite an enigmatic and fascinating lifestyle that seemed to be a puzzle to many.

He was famous and very influential when he lived but somehow was almost forgotten completely for many centuries until his artistic influences in the development of Modern Art was again rediscovered.

Caravaggio was born in Milan, Italy on September 28, 1571. His father, Fermi Merisi worked for the Marchese of Caravaggio while his mother, Lucia Aratori, came from a wealthy landowning family in the same district. The family relocated to Caravaggio in order to escape the plague that struck Milan in 1576. Sadly, Caravaggio’s father died the following year. It was known that the artist spent hie early years at Caravaggio.

In 1584, Caravaggio became an apprentice to Simone Peterzano, a Lombard painter who was a pupil of Titian. Caravaggio was influenced with Lombard art which valued simplicity and naturalistic details. Caravaggio eventually went to Rome sometime in 1592 where he surprisingly became an immediate favorite.

At Rome, Caravaggio initially became a part of the workshop of Guiseppi Cesari a highly successful painter who was the favorite of Pope Clement VIII. Through Cesari, Caravaggio was able to make very valuable friendships. In 1594, he left the workshop of Cesari to go out on his own.

With his friendship with established painter Prospero Orsi, he was introduced to some of the influential collectors in Rome. Caravaggio began creating unique paintings that took on new themes which became popular and later on influenced other paintings.

Caravaggio also later on began doing paintings with religious themes, the first of which was the Penitent Magdalene. Realism was a noteworthy feature in his paintings that established his reputation that eventually led him to do rich commissions for the Church. By 1599, Caravaggio started doing work decorating the Contarelli Chapel.

His works there such as the Martyrdom of Saint Matthew and Calling of Saint Matthew became immediate sensations. His works made him the most popular painter in Rome from 1600 to 1606 where his level of acute realism in his works brought them to a higher level of emotional intensity.

But aside from enjoying a successful life as a painter in Rome, Caravaggio was also known for his troublesome lifestyle filled with endless street brawling. This usually found him being arrested until sometime in 1606, he unintentionally killed a young man. To escape prosecution, Caravaggio went to Naples where he was outside Roman jurisdiction.

There Caravaggio began to become popular as a painter. But his penchant for trouble followed him and led him to go from one place to another just to evade troubles that he caused. Caravaggio eventually died of a fever on July of 1610.

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