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Home >> Artists >> Caravaggio


Caravaggio gained a reputaion of being enigmatically dangerous at a very young age. He literally burst upon the Rome art scene in 1600 and dazzled everyone with his darughtmanship.his initial success ensured a steady stream of commissions and patronship. One can know a bit about him from an early notice published on him, dating from 1604 and describing his lifestyle some three years previously, tells how "after a fortnight's work he will swagger about for a month or two with a sword at his side and a servant following him, from one ball-court to the next, ever ready to engage in a fight or an argument”.

Carravagios birthname is Michelangelo Merisi and he was born on Sept. 28, 1573, in Caravaggio, Italy. As a painter he was known by the name of his birth place. He was orphaned at the tender age of 11, he was soon apprenticed to the painter Simone Peterzano of Milan thereafter. He apprenticed with Peterzano for four years,soon Caravaggio went to Rome and decied that he will train himself by assissting painters there. After having worked as an assistant to painters of lesser skill for some years he decided to work on his own. In 1595 he began selling paintings through a dealer. The dealer brought Caravaggio to the attention of Cardinal Francesco del Monte ,who procured many commissions for him.

Caravaggio’s Style

Caravaggio paintings were known for their realistic naturalism. However Caravaggio’s heightened chiaroscuro brought high drama to his subjects. The emotional intensity that his realism brought combined with this high drama to make his paintings, what can be called, a static performance.

Caravaggio’s Paintings

Boy with a Basket of Fruit- this painting from his first few years in Rome is a perfect example of his early style. This painting was a perfect and probably deliberate showpiece of the artitist’s skills-his dexterity in handling everything from the skin of the boy to the skin of a peach, from the folds of the robe to the weave of the basket.

It will be interesting to analyse this painting from a horticultarist’s perspective.Professor Jules Janick of the Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture says: "The basket ... contains a great many fruits, all in nearly perfect condition and including a bi-colored peach with a bright red blush; four clusters of grapes — two black, one red, and one "white;" a ripe pomegranate split open, disgorging its red seeds; four figs, two of them dead-ripe, black ones, both split and two light-colored; two medlars; three apples—two red, one blushed and the other striped, and one yellow with a russet basin and a scar; two branches with small pears, one of them with five yellow ones with a bright red cheek and the other, half-hidden, with small yellow, blushed fruits."

The Entombment of Christ-This baroque (a style which Caravaggio internalised) painting, with a host of mourners and cadaver-bearers moving downward to the dead, limp Christ and bare stone. This is not a moment of transfiguration, but of mourning.Some theorists, however,suggest that it is actually a depiction of the resseruction of Christ. Whatever its theme might be,the fact remains that it is a typical later Caravaggio painting where all his skills find a voice.

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