Friday, 24 June 2011

Caravaggio (1573-1610)

St. Jerome (1605-6) by Caravaggio

(MICHELANGELO MERISI DA) CARAVAGGIO (1573-1610). Had a reputation as an irrational, violent man who was known to the police for assaults and stabbings. On one occasion he assaulted a waiter in a dispute over a bowl of artichokes. In 1606 he fled Rome after killing a man and exiled himself in Naples, Malta and Sicily. But he was found by his enemies and disfigured in a fight for his life. He is always believed to have died of malaria in 1610, but in 2010 new evidence emerged that it have been the lead in his own paintings that finished him off. As with his life, his paintings too were dramatic. His work The Death of the Virgin was rejected by the Carmelite priests that commissioned it finding it indecent. Other works include Bacchus, a beautiful portrait in the classical mould with an underlying tone of decay. Caravaggio is also credited with introducing chiaroscuro (light and shade) into European painting.

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