- Known as: Italian artist
- Born: 29 September 1571, Caravaggio, near Milan, Italy
- Birthname: Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio
- Date of death: 18 July 1610, Porto Ercole, near Grosseto, Tuscany, Italy (fever)
So called from the Bergamasque town near Milan, when Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio was 13, he was apprenticed for four years to a Bergamasque working in Milan, Simone Peterzano. When his apprenticeship came to an end, he may have gone to Rome though there is also evidence that he may have been in Venice (like so many artists of this era and before, hard evidence is hard to come by). At some point, Caravaggio arrived in Rome and worked for the Cavaliere d'Arpino.
In the 1590 he worked for Cardinal del Monte and in 1599 he obtained the commission to decorate the French chapel in Rome, the Contarelli Chapel in S. Luigi dei Francesi. The original altarpiece was rejected due to supposed indecorum and had to undergo radical repainting.
Between 1600-01, he painted the Martydom of St Peter and the Conversion of St Paul for the Cerasi Chapel in Sta Maria del Popolo. Again, it is probale that these were rejected. Other altarpieces he did were heavily criticized on the grounds of indecorum due to his harsh realism. Indeed, much of his work was attacked though any rejected work found a ready buyer among cardinals and noblemen.
Caravaggio's famed reputation for his, er, love of a fight, was first documented in 1603 when Baglione brought a libel action against him. He soon became notorious for his numerous fracas with the police. His violent temper brought his career in Rome to an end in 1606 when during a game of racquet he argued with an opponent and stabbed him. He fled, ending up in Naples and working there for a time; then he went to Malta and was received by the Grand Master of the Order of St John. He was made a Knight of Grace which was the lowest grade and his temple soon got the better of him for he assaulted a Knight Justiciary (the highest grade) and was imprisoned. In 1608, he escaped and fled to Sicily and was, unsurprisingly, expelled from the Order.
He may have worked for the Order of Messina next but what is definate is that the following year he was back in Naples, and was seriously wounded in a fight in a tavern. He left Naples by sea for Port'Ercole. Once there, he was imprisoned by mistake; when he was released he discovered the felucca which he thought had all his goods on board had sailed. His frantic efforts to overhaul the felucca brought on a fever, and a few days later he died in a tavern.
The goods, in fact, were in the customs house in the port.
- Caravaggio's only signed work was the Decollation of the Baptist, commissioned when he was in Malta
- Rubens was an admirer of his
- His piece, the Nativity in the Oratory of S. Lorenzo, was stolen in 1969, and has still not been recovered
- Between 1600-06, he was the most famous painter in Rome
- The young man he killed was Ranuccio Tomassoni
- Cleveland Ohio
- Dublin (NG)
- Florence (Uffizi, Pitti)
- Hartford Conn.
- Kansas City
- London (National Gallery)
- Madrid (Prado)
- Milan (Brera, Ambrosiana)
- Naples (S. Domenico Maggiore, Misericordia)
- New York (Met. Mus.)
- Paris (Louvre)
- Rome (Gall. Naz., Borghese, Capitoline, Corsini, Doria Galls., churches)
- St. Petersburg
- Valletta, Malta
Rest On The Flight To Egypt Large Canvas Print
Sacrificing Isaak Large Canvas Print
Salome Receives The Head Large Canvas Print
Self-Portrait as Bacchus Large Canvas Print
The Supper at Emmaus Large Canvas Print
Young Man With Fruit Basket Large Canvas Print
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