Biography of Caravaggio (born Michelangelo Merisi)
The rogue among painters
Caravaggio (born Michelangelo Merisi) was born on September 29, 1571 in Milan. He was an Italian master of the early Baroque.
Even as a teenager, he showed a great interest in painting. In 1584, Michelangelo began his artistic training with the famous painter Simone Peterzano in Milan. In 1592, the young painter went to Rome where he had to struggle for the first time against poverty and non-recognition. The turning point in his career came when he finally attracted the attention of a high patron of the arts. The promotion of Cardinal Francesco del Monte brought Caravaggio into the upper echelons of society, leading to a sharp increase in the number of works he commissioned.
Later, Caravaggio obtained his first major public contract for three historical paintings from Capella Contarelli to "San Luigi dei Francesi." The paintings impressed people and introduced him to a wider audience.
Christian subjects and beautiful boys were his favorite motifs. In the biblical scenes that he presented with a certain realism and naturalism, Caravaggio liked to provoke the reactions of the church and the public, and often attracted hostile criticism. The characters are shown in harsh light against a dark background.
Caravaggio used a special painting technique - tenebrism, in which chiaroscuro plays a key role. This technique was especially popular at the end of the Renaissance and Baroque periods. Contrasts of light and dark, as well as the effect of light and shadow were used to represent the emotionality of the characters. Such emphasis strengthens the spatial effect and gives additional three-dimensionality to the depicted subjects.
The most famous and popular works are: "Narcissus" (1596/97), "Cupid the Winner" (1602), "Thomas the Unfaithful" (1603), "Saint-Jérôme" (1606).
Caravaggio was a very controversial personality. Successful, famous and at the same time violent and with severe mood swings: his life was marked by his love of alcohol and gambling. He was often on the run for his criminal behavior: in Naples, Malta and Sicily.
There are many legends, myths and stories about Caravaggio's life, but it is obvious that the artist was a very extravagant personality. He led a very restless and unruly life and died in Porto Ercole at only 38 years old, on July 18, 1610.