CARAVAGGIO: THE PAINTINGS BY MICHELANGELO MERISI
Caravaggio is famous both for his adventurous life and the anguished realism of his works. His existence was a succession of works of genius and coups de theatre, conflicts with his clients, which caused even the refusal of some of his works and violent brawls.
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Caravaggio in his paintings expressed the grief and the suffering of human beings, and the realism of his works attracted a lot of followers and imitators.
Here are Caravaggio’s works you must know and where you can admire them.
BOY WITH A BASKET OF FRUIT
Where: Galleria Borghese, Rome.
This is one of the early paintings Caravaggio did when he was working in Cavalier d’Arpino’s studio.
THE FORTUNE TELLER
Where: Pinacoteca Capitolina, Rome.
The painting was bought by Cardinal del Monte, because it represented a story of street life at that time, through an exchange of glance and expressions never seen before. The knight is charmed by the eyes of the gypsy woman, who steals the ring from his hand, while reading his palm.
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Where: Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.
Caravaggio painted this painting when he was hosted at the Palazzo Madama by Cardinal del Monte, who was his most important client.
REST ON THE FLIGHT INTO EGYPT
Where: Galleria Doria Pamphilij, Rome.
In 1983 scholars identified the musical score painted by Caravaggio that reproduces a melody of the Flemish composer Noel Bauldewijn (1480-1529), based on the text “The Song of the Songs” (or “The Song of Solomon”).
Where: Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence.
The painting was commissioned by Cardinal del Monte and was a gift for the Grand Duke of Tuscany Ferdinando I de’Medici.
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BASKET OF FRUIT
Where: Pinacoteca Ambrosiana, Milan.
This is considered to be the first Italian still-life painting, a pictorial genre which had already existed, but which Caravaggio renovated and made independent.
Dove: Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence.
The work was a gift from Cardinal del Monte to the Grand Duke of Tuscany Ferdinando I de’Medici, who had appointed him as ambassador to Rome.
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THE CALLING OF SAINT MATTEW
Where: Chiesa di San Luigi dei Francesi, Rome.
Housed inside the Contarelli Chapel in the Church of San Luigi dei Francesi in Rome, is Caravaggio’s first public work.
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THE CRUCIFIXION OF SAINT PETER
Where: Santa Maria del Popolo, Rome.
The painting was commissioned by Monsignor Cerasi and refused by his heirs when Caravaggio finished it.
So Caravaggio had to paint another version of the subject, and created a masterpiece.
THE SACRIFICE OF ISAAC
Where: Gallerie degli Uffizi, Florence.
Commissioned by Cardinal Maffeo Barberini, who would become Pope Urban VIII, the payments for the work were on the Cardinal’s list of expenses, but when Caravaggio was arrested after a charge of defamation, they were suspended. The artist finished his work while he was under house arrest.
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DEATH OF VIRGIN
Where: Louvre Museum, Paris.
This is the largest painting Caravaggio ever painted and the subject is too realistic. He was accused of having used a prostitute to represent the Virgin Mary.
JUDITH BEHEADING HOLOFERNES
Where: Galleria di Arte Antica di Palazzo Barberini, Rome.
The scene is bloody and is almost like a visual chronicle of a murder perpetrated live by a beautiful but lethal Judith.
The work was a turning point in the collective imagination of its time as it described a true heroine. An example of a strong and virtuous woman in seventeenth-century Rome.
Caravaggio’s painting of Judith Beheading Holofernes, painted in 1599 for the Ligurian banker Ottavio Costa, who died in 1639, remained in Rome until the mid-nineteenth century, when it passed into the ownership of the museum, and then became part of the heritage of the National Galleries of Ancient Art in Rome in 1971.