artist

Michelangelo Caravaggio

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Famed for his fiery temper, Caravaggio was the greatest artist of the Italian Baroque and one of art history’s stylistic revolutionaries. He enrolled in the studio of Simone Peterzano in 1584, but arguably learnt more from studying paintings by great Venetian masters such as Titian. Following his move to Rome in 1592, his early work consisted of still lifes and half-length figure paintings. However, the patronage of Cardinal Francesco del Monte led to his first ecclesiastical commission in 1599. From this point until his early death, Carravaggio produced a string of groundbreaking public works marked by a radically realistic technique and deep chiaroscuro shadows. Eshewing careful underdrawing, he painted directly ‘from life’ onto the canvas, using low-lifes from the Roman streets for models. Forced to flee after killing a man in a brawl, he spent time both in Naples and with the Knights of Malta, before dying of malarial fever. He spawned innumerable imitators known as Caravaggisti, but also influenced Velázquez, Rembrandt and later Realist movements.

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Works (57)

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