Interesting Facts About Caravaggio

Interesting Facts About Caravaggio

Caravaggio's subjects, whether simple card sharks or Biblical heroes, were depicted with an unmistakable bit of realism, with ripped robes, unclean fingernails, and highly individualised features that conveyed extraordinary physiological depth. Traditional subjects (from still lifes to sacred settings) were tackled with astounding creativity, blurring the line between spiritual and worldly.

What was Caravaggio's significance?

Caravaggio was a prominent Artist of the late 16th and early 17th centuries, known for his huge religious works' profound and unnerving realism, and also his vicious adventures (he committed murder) and explosive personality.

What was Caravaggio's nickname?

Caravaggio gained the moniker "Rome's Most Famous Painter."

What was Caravaggio's influence on others?

Caravaggism had a significant impact on the art world, and artists such as Rubens, Hals, Rembrandt, Vermeer, Velazquez, and Bernini were intrinsically and extrinsically inspired by Caravaggio. Biographers today, as well as public sources, paint a fascinating picture of this frequently troubled artist.

What was Caravaggio's total number of paintings?

88 works of art

What was Caravaggio's artistic style?

Renaissance and Baroque style


Caravaggio was abandoned when he was a child

Caravaggio was born in 1571, during a period when the bubonic plague was still sweeping most of Europe. When Caravaggio was six years old, his father, grandfather, and grandmother all died of the epidemic in the period of three days, and his mother died four years later.

He started an apprenticeship at Simone Peterzano's workshop when he was twelve years old, securing his future as an artist while still a child.

Caravaggio's real name is Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio

The painter's nickname comes from Caravaggio, a tiny town in northern Italy where he was born.

Caravaggio's paintings were used to support the Counter-Reformation

The Catholic Church was preparing an Oppose Reformation movement in the late 16th and early 17th centuries as a reaction to the Revolt, which would combat the growing of Protestantism.

The Church used painters, sculptors, and architects as part of this campaign to visually confirm Catholicism's authority and strength, as well as to bring back Catholics who had converted to Protestantism.

Caravaggio's paintings combined the different approaches to artistic expression at the time, using both cinematic, highly dramatic light and mixtures, as well as scenes that invite religious people of all sociocultural hierarchy levels, painting religious figures in dark, gloomy taverns filled with the impoverished.


Caravaggio was a rapid worker

Caravaggio died young, at the age of 38, yet he was a prolific artist who constantly produced large-scale paintings during his lifetime.

His observant style allowed him to work quickly and spontaneously; he enjoyed painting directly into the canvas without using sketches or drawings, and he frequently worked from live models. He'd work in a frenzy, frequently staying up all night or painting for two weeks in a row.

Caravaggio was a ruthless thief

Caravaggio had a history for being a hothead who was prone to brawls in bars and on the streets. He got away with minor but strange offenses like yelling at a constable and walking around with an unauthorized blade.

He once cut a hole in his roof to allow more natural light into his studio while painting; this unplanned carpentry caused his landlord to evict him. He was also tried at least eleven times for serious offences, including scaring a guard and hurling a platter in the face of a server because he thought his uncooked artichokes were an offense.


Caravaggio was the definitive painter of the Italian Baroque

Caravaggio was a founder of tenebrism, a dramatic technique that utilizes extreme chiaroscuro (a juxtaposed light and shadow effect) to dominate the picture with darkness and create a spotlight impression.

Tenebrism's theatricality was a significant feature of Baroque art, stemming from Mannerism's chromatic innovation. Caravaggio's tenebrism was paralleled by his empirical naturalism, allowing for more intellectual and emotional contact with the present audience.

In a duel, Caravaggio killed a man

Art historians are still debating the particular facts and context of Ranuccio Tomassoni's death, though it is likely that he died as the result of Caravaggio. Tomassoni was a Roman hustler who had offended a prostitute Caravaggio admired in some way.

Caravaggio requested that Tomassoni play a game of tennis as a prelude to a duel. Some experts believe the feud began over a gambling debt, while others say Caravaggio killed Tomassoni accidentally during a struggle over a tennis match.


He sought to use artworks to get a death warrant lifted

He was always seeking a forgiveness from the Pope for his death warrant for murdering Ranuccio Tomassoni during his four years in exile.

With the aim of mediating a pardon, he sent paintings such as David with the Head of Goliath and Salome with the Head of John the Baptist to influential family members and friends who had the pope's ear. He died without ever receiving a pardon

He lived in exile for part of his later years

Caravaggio was given a death warrant for the murder of Tomassoni, which might be carried out at any time in Rome. He fled to Naples, where he sought refuge in the mansions of noble families such as the Sforzas and the Colonnas, and then to Malta, a sovereign state that welcomed him safely. During his exile, he continued to paint, journeying to Sicily to paint The Beheading of Saint John the Baptist, one of his most well-known and significant works.

Despite being a well-known artist at the time, his work was frequently criticized by horrified Catholics

Throughout his life, Caravaggio's work and ability were respected, and contemporary artists recognized him as a master of painting. However, his art can be divisive at times. Some contemporary critics regard Caravaggio's paintings' enhanced naturalism as overly violent, claiming that it deviates too much from the idealization of the High Renaissance Masters.

Despite the fact that his paintings aided the Counter-Reformation, some devout Catholics objected to biblical images populated by drunkards or Saints based like prostitutes.

Tenebroso was his name

Chiaroscuro was not a new painting technique, but Caravaggio carried it to its logical conclusion. His shadows are particularly dark, while the illuminated areas sparkle brightly, enhancing the contrast.

His themes were frequently violent or upsetting, and they were all depicted in a realistic manner. Caravaggio's style is also known as tenebrism, a technique that has had such an impact on the work of a number of young artists.

Caravaggio's works are frequently mentioned by twentieth- and twenty-first-century cultural luminaries

Caravaggio's use of dramatic tenebrism, the spotlight effect, and somber situations in dark pubs had a huge impact on visual culture, and its reverberations may still be seen in contemporary artists' work.

"It's basically The Calling of St. Matthew but in New York!" said Martin Scorsese of his references to Caravaggio in Taxi Driver and Mean Streets. In the twentieth century, the poet Thom Gunn created compositions in response to Caravaggio's paintings.

His death has yet to be determined

Scholars continue to argue Caravaggio's death cause, specifics, and date. In July of 1610, he died while trying to collect a papal pardon and return to Rome, maybe aboard a boat sailing northward. According to some scholars, he died of syphilis, malaria, or brucellosis.

The Calling of Saint Matthew, one of his most famous pieces, hasn't been moved in almost 400 years

Caravaggio was hired to design two paintings for the Contarelli Chapel in the San Luigi dei Francesi Church in 1599. Martyrdom of Saint Matthew and Calling of Saint Matthew, both completed in 1600, are two of his significant works that earned him international acclaim and solidified his ability to secure contracts for the rest of his life.

The Calling of Saint Matthew has survived two world wars and many invasions, which is unusual for such a big, high-profile painting.

He influenced a generation of artists known as the Caravaggisti

Caravaggio and his work had a huge influence on the artists of the cities he visited. Caravaggisti were artists who adopted Caravaggio's tenebrism and abbreviated compositions into their work and designated to themselves as Caravaggisti.

Caravaggio was regarded as the cutting edge of painting by Bartolomeo Manfredi, Carlo Saraceni, and, in particular, Artemesia Gentileschi in Rome. The Neapolitan Caravaggisti were led by Battistello Caracciolo and Carlo Sellitto in Naples. His works influenced important Western European artists such as Rubens, Rembrandt, and Velázquez.

He may have died as a result of his paintings

Human bones were discovered in Porto Ercole in 2010, and scientists believe they are those of Caravaggio. The bones revealed a dangerous quantity of lead, very definitely from the paint he worked with, which may have killed him.

This notion is supported by the artist's notoriety for erratic and aggressive conduct, which is a common indication of lead poisoning.

Pope Francis is a huge Caravaggio lover

Pope Francis stated that he had frequently viewed and examined Caravaggio's The Calling of Saint Matthew and other works. "This is me, a sinner on whom the Lord has set his sight," Pope Francis said of Matthew's figuration in the major work.

Tilda Swinton and Sean Bean both made their cinematic debuts in a fictitious biography of Caravaggio

Derek Jarman's 1986 British film Caravaggio recounted the story of Caravaggio's life with dramatic, artistic license.

The movie uses a motorcycle, a typewriter, and cigarette smoking to construct the character of Caravaggio, despite the fact that the characters are dressed in clothing and architectural surroundings that are modern to Caravaggio's time. At the 36th Berlin International Film Festival, the film was awarded the Silver Bear.

While recovering from malaria, he painted himself as a Bacchus interpretation

Caravaggio included himself in a number of paintings, the most frightening of which is a picture of a young ill Bacchus from 1594. While working on the picture, he watched himself in a mirror, having just left the hospital for a serious illness that academics assume was malaria.

Bacchus, who in the painting resembles Caravaggio physically, is emaciated, pallid, and practically insane from illness. Caravaggio's concentration on the contrast between the picture's subject and the profound darkness that surrounds him is maintained in this painting.

Caravaggio's paintings fetch record-breaking sums

Caravaggio's works are rarely available for sale, especially on the public market, due to his standing as a Baroque artist. Judith Beheading Holofernes, his second version, was unearthed in a French attic in 2014 and is valued at $170 million.

The art was scheduled to be auctioned in June 2019 (with no reserve), but it was purchased at the last minute in a private sale; the final purchase price was kept undisclosed.

A Caravaggio painting may have been taken by the Italian mafia

The Nativity with St. Francis and Saint Lawrence by Caravaggio was taken from the Oratory of Saint Lawrence in Palermo in 1969.

Despite the fact that the painting has never been located, members of the Italian mafia allege that it was frequently on display at large meetings and gatherings of high-ranking mafia members, but that it was damaged and then destroyed. The project was estimated to be worth around $20 million.

After attacking a high-ranking knight, he managed to escape

The Grand Master of the Knights of Saint John offered Caravaggio a knighthood when he was in Malta, which would have probably won Caravaggio a pardon for his death warrant. During another battle, however, he assaulted a higher-ranking knight, landing Caravaggio in prison and losing his knighthood.

He managed to flee to Sicily, where he lived in perpetual terror. His paranoia was confirmed when he was ambushed and attacked by a group of men, most likely in reprisal for the attack on the knight in Malta, and his face was irreparably disfigured.


His epitaph is epic

Caravaggio's epitaph, written by his friend Marzio Milesi, is a moving tribute to a much-loved artist. "Michelangelo Merisi, son of Fermo di Caravaggio – in painting, not equal to a painter, but to Nature herself – died in Porto Ercole – arriving from Naples – returning to Rome – 15th of August – in the year of our Lord 1610 - He lived 36 years, 9 months, and 20 days – Marzio Milesi, Jurisconsult – Dedicated to an outstanding genius buddy."


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