The life of Caravaggio: 5 things to know

Caravaggio | Bacco

Caravaggio, Bacco

THE LIFE OF CARAVAGGIO: 5 THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT MICHELANGELO MERISI

The life of Caravaggio, birth name Michelangelo Merisi, is as adventurous as a novel, where the marvel arisen from his works combines with the mysteries of his violent life made up of excess.

“When there’s no energy, there is not colour, no shape, there is no life”-Michelangelo Merisi, known as Caravaggio.

It’s impossible for you not to love at least one painting by Caravaggio.
I love “Vocazione de San Matteo” for example.
Which is your favourite painting? Write it in your comments.

Here are 5 things to know about Caravaggio and his life lived to the fullest.

Riposo durante la fuga in Egitto | Caravaggio

Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio, Riposo durante la fuga in Egitto, 1596-1597
Roma, Galleria Doria Pamphilj © 2017 Amministrazione Doria Pamphilj s.r.l.

WHO CARAVAGGIO WAS: 5 THINGS TO KNOW TO UNDERSTAND WHY HE IS CONSIDERED A DAMNED ARTIST

Caravaggio was an artist, an assassin, a man who could divide his time between the refined world of collectors and the suburbs of a city which harboured criminals of any kind.

1 – WHEN WAS CARAVAGGIO BORN

Michelangelo Merisi was born in 1571 in Milan, but everyone knows him as Caravaggio, which is actually the name of the native village of his parents. In 1577, due to an outbreak of plague, his family came back to Caravaggio, where his father died.

2 – CARAVAGGIO IN ROME

Caravaggio came back to Milan in 1584, at the age of 13, when he began his artistic training under the mannerist painter Simone Peterzano.
In 1592 Caravaggio moved to Rome, where he tried to stand out as an artist, and frequented the most disreputable places of the city.
Until he became one of the artists supported by the powerful and refined Cardinal del Monte, who would provide him with important commissions, including “The Calling of Saint Matthew” for the church of San Luigi dei Francesi (the church of St. Louis of the French) and the “Basket of Fruit”.

Caravaggio, Canestra di frutta (dettaglio)

3 – CARAVAGGIO, A TUMULTUOUS LIFE

Caravaggio’s paintings combine realism of the characters with a dramatic use of lighting. “The Death of the Virgin” is considered to be a work too close to reality, and the Virgin is more similar to a woman of the slums than to the Mother of God.
Alongside the creation of great masterpieces, Caravaggio continued to lead a tumultuous life: he was arrested for possession of weapons, convicted for insulting police officers, charged with throwing a dish full of artichokes at a tavern boy and wanted for seriously wounding a notary.

4 – WHY WAS CARAVAGGIO EXILED FROM ROME

In 1606 during a brawl Caravaggio killed Rinuccio Tommasoni.
The artist was obliged to escape from Rome, because he was sentenced to death, and fled to Naples before and to Malta later, where in 1608 he joined the Order of Saint John (the Order of Knights Hospitallers).
However, Caravaggio couldn’t escape his destiny, and was involved in another brawl, and he wounded a member of the Order.
Caravaggio escaped, but he was reached and injured.
In that period he painted “David with the Head of Goliath” (1609-1610), where in reality Goliath is Caravaggio’s self-portrait.

5 – WHEN DID CARAVAGGIO DIE

In a last-ditch attempt to obtain pardon from the Pope who could suspend his death sentence, Caravaggio took a trip to Rome, but he wasn’t able to reach the city: in fact Caravaggio died in Porto Ercole, in Tuscany, in 1610, at the age of only 38.

David con la testa di Golia | Caravaggio

Caravaggio, David con la testa di Golia – Galleria Borghese.

 

 

 

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