You are on page 1of 7

Lindsey Winter

Michelangelo (Caravaggio)
Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio who is known as just Caravaggio, was an Italian artist born September 29th, 1571 in Milan, Lombardy or at least that is the estimated date of his birth since there is no proof of his exact birth date. His whole life turned out to be full of darkness and poor choices of his own doing but granted, he was born during a dark and sordid time which may or may not have been the reason his adult life turned out the way it had. He was orphaned at the age 11 then later trained as a painter in Milan working with oil on canvas under a man named Simone Peterzano. Caravaggio moved to Rome during a time when many churches and palazzos were being built that were in need of paintings, which is where he began his career as a painter. His career as a painter however was short-lived. Caravaggio died July 18, 1610 which made him only 38 years old when he passed away from a mysterious fever. Throughout his career as a painter Caravaggio did not handle his success well. He had been jailed on multiple accounts, in a multitude of brawls, harassing authorities and piercing a man with his sword, the man died from his sword would so a scared Caravaggio was forced to flee Rome with a price on his head. Caravaggio was always looking for trouble, walking around with his sword by his side looking for an argument in any place that he could find it. He would be welcomed by the pope, authorities and the Knights of Malta then go and do something to get himself into trouble and ruin his welcoming. Caravaggio appears to have been a sinking ship from the beginning. There isnt much known about Caravaggio's early family life. His father, Fermo Merisi, was the steward and architect of the marquis of Caravaggio. When Caravaggio was six, the plague rolled through killing almost everyone in his family, including his father and grandfather. Caravaggio later took to the streets and fell in with a group of painters and swordsmen who lived by the

Lindsey Winter

motto nec spe, nec metu, meaning 'without hope, without fear. At the age of 11, Caravaggio relocated to Milan and began apprenticing with the painter Simone Peterzano. In his late teens Caravaggio moved to Rome where he found work assisting other painters and painting mostly still life of fruits and flowers. He was constantly changing his jobs, never having much stability in his life. He eventually set out to make a name for himself, selling his paintings through a dealer which ended up providing him with a place to live. Most of his earlier work consisted of young, chubby pretty boys made out to be angels or lutenists (someone who plays the lute, a string instrument). The young boys were usually either naked or dressed loosely. It is said that Caravaggio had one assistant, Cecco who appears in many of his paintings and is also said to possibly be Caravaggios lover. In 1597, Caravaggio was given the chance to decorate for the Contarelli Chapel in the Church of San Luigi dei Francesi in Rome. He was asked to create three paintings of separate scenes from St. Matthew's life. "St. Matthew and the Angel," "The Calling of St. Matthew," and "The Martyrdom of St. Matthew," the final paintings which were finished in 1601. It was these very paintings that showed Caravaggios spectacular range as an artist. His first version of St. Mathew and the Angel caused fear among people because of the more realistic perspective that he created of the saint so he ended up having to redo the painting. He was considered to be Romes most famous painter. He brought dramatic light into his paintings, creating a new level of emotional intensity. Caravaggio went on to create paintings for religious works featuring violent struggles, grotesque decapitations, torture and death. Each new painting increased his fame, but a few were rejected and had to be re-painted or find new buyers. Many didnt know how to deal with Caravaggios style, he took posed models and painting directly from their forms which violated the ideas society had about art. Most painted scenes were along the religious side

Lindsey Winter

of thing due to the fact that he was hired by mostly churches but some of work was too dark or disturbing to people, some called Caravaggios art the anti-Christ art turning away most of his work but it was that very controversy that continued to make him more successful and unfortunately it was his success that led to much turbulence in his life by his own upbringing. He started to become a violent, angry man who was known for his mood swings. Always looking for an argument or a fight, Caravaggio ended up in jail several times for brawls, throwing a plate of artichokes at a waiter, and attacking Roman guards with stones. His worst move was when he killed a well-known man by the name of Ranuccio Tomassoni in 1606, the exact reason why is still uncertain but historians believe in a few different explanations, perhaps his lust for the mans wife, an unpaid debt or simply just over a game of tennis. Either way it caused major problems for Caravaggio and kept stacking up all the crimes against him. He fled to Naples where he went from the most famous painter in Rome to the most famous painter in Naples, continuing commissions painting the "Madonna of the Rosary" for another painter, and later "The Seven Works of Mercy" for the church of Pio Chapel of Monte della Misericordia. One of the most shocking paintings done by Caravaggio was the "Resurrection," where he revealed a less saintly, more disheveled Jesus Christ escaping from his tomb in the middle of the night. By this time Caravaggio become a paranoid man due to always running for his life, he actually started to sleep in his clothes just in case he needed to escape quickly in the night and he always slept with a dagger by his side so he would always be protected by perhaps someone looking to seek revenge on him for his many acts of violence. The violence just seemed to be never ending with Caravaggio, he attacked one of the senior knights named Fra Giovanni Rodomonte Roero from the Order of St. John in Malta, he was expelled from the Order for being "a foul and rotten member" and was also arrested for the

Lindsey Winter

assault but managed to escape one month later. Apparently Roero couldnt let go of the attack or put it behind him because in 1609, he followed Caravaggio to Naples and attacked him outside a tavern which disfigured his face and left him significantly impacted mentally, physically and artistically. His vision and brushwork suffered afterward, the evidenced is shown by two of his later paintings, "The Martyrdom of Saint Ursula" and "The Denial of Saint Peter." Caravaggio was in dire need to escape once again and the only way that Caravaggio could avoid being punished for the murder he committed was to seek help from the pope who had the power to pardon him. It is said that it was most likely his friends and fans who had asked for him to be granted the pardon. In 1610, Caravaggio was on his way back to Rome when he was yet again, arrested. He was sailing from Naples and was arrested in Palo where his boat had made a stop. Upon being released, Caravaggio continued his journey to receive his pardon, he arrived at Port'Ercole where he died a few days later on July 18th, 1610 from what was said to be a fever. The death of Caravaggio was a bit of a mystery and nobody knew exactly what had caused his death until a group of scientist in 2010 studied Caravaggio's remains and discovered that his bones contained high levels of lead. Levels that were so high they could have resulted in Caravaggio being driven mad. Other famous artists such as Francisco Goya and Vincent van Gogh were suspected to be killed by lead poisoning as well. Caravaggio was well-known and extremely popular during his lifetime but he seemed to have been forgotten almost immediately following his death and it wasnt until the 20th century that his importance as a painter was rediscovered as the development of the Western War art.

Lindsey Winter

Caravaggios Art
Boy Peeling a Fruit Young Sick Bacchus Boy with a Basket of Fruit Fortune Teller Cardsharps Musicians Saint Francis of Assisi in Ecstasy Boy Bitten by a Lizard Lute Player Basket of Fruit Bacchus Penitent Magdalene Rest of the Flight into Egypt Medusa Portrait of a Courtesan Jupiter, Neptune and Pluto Fortune Teller Saint Catherine of Alexandria Sacrifice of Isaac Judith Beheading Holofernes John the Baptist Martha and Mary Magdalene David and Goliath Narcissus Boy Bitten by a Lizard Madonna of Loreto John the Baptist John the Baptist c. 1592 c. 1593 c. 1593 c. 1594 c. 1594 c. 1595 c. 1595 c. 1596 c. 1596 Still Life with Flowers and Fruit c. 1596 Super at Emmaus c. 1596 Amor Victorious c. 1597 Saint Matthew and Angel c. 1597 Inspiration of Saint Matthew c. 1597 John the Baptist c. 1597 Incredulity of Saint Thomas c. 1597 Taking of Christ c. 1597 Sacrifice of Isaac c. 1598 Holy Family with St. John the Baptist c. 1598 Entombment c. 1598 Crowing with Thorns c. 1598 c. 1598 c. 1599 c. 1599 c. 1600 c. 1604 c. 1604 c. 1604 The Calling of Saints Peter and Andrew Christ on the Mount of Olives Ecce Homo Saint Jerome in Meditation Saint Jerome Writing Portrait of Pope Paul V c. 1604 c. 1605 c. 1605 c. 1605 c. 1605 c. 1605 c. 1603 c. 1603 c. 1603 c. 1602 c. 1602 c. 1602 c. 1602 c. 1602 c. 1602 c. 1602 c. 1602 c. 1601 Portrait of Maffeo Barberini John the Baptist Calling of St. Matthew Martyrdom of Saint Matthew Nativity with St. Francis and St. Lawrence Conversion of Saint Paul Crucifixion of Saint Peter c. 1598 c. 1600 c. 1600 c. 1600 c.1600? c. 1600 c. 1601

Conversion of Saint Paul on the Road to Mascusus c. 1601

Lindsey Winter
Still Life with Fruit on a Stone Ledge Madonna and Child with St. Anne Death of the Virgin Madonna of the Rosary Crowning with Thorns Flagellation of Christ Christ at the Column Salome with the Head of John the Baptist Saint Jerome Writing Portrait of Alof de Wignacourt Portrait of Fra Antonio Martelli Beheading of Saint John the Baptist s. Sleeping Cupid John the Baptist Annunciation Mary Magdalene in Ecstasy Saint Francis in Mediation Supper at Emmaus c. 1605 c. 1606 c. 1606 c. 1607 c. 1607 c. 1607 c. 1607 c.1607 c. 1607 c. 1608 c. 1608 c. 1608 c. 1608 c. 1608 c. 1608 c. 1606 c. 1606 c. 1606 Seven Works of Mercy Crucifixion of Saint Andrew David with the Head of Goliath c. 1607 c. 1607 c. 1607 Burial of Saint Lucy Raising of Lazarus Adoration of the Shepherds Salome with the Head of John the Baptist Tooth Puller Denial of Saint Peter Saint Francis in Prayer John the Baptist David with the Head of Goliath c. 1608 c. 1609 c. 1609 c.1609 c. 1609 c. 1610 c. 1610 c. 1610 c. 1610

Lindsey Winter

My Reflection of Caravaggio
In all honesty, at first I had mistaken Michelangelo Marisis de Caravaggio for Michelangelo Buonarroti but after much research on Caravaggios life and work I became very interested in him. Caravaggio had a rather disturbing life, the beginning of his life was as dark as the end of his life and it shows in his paintings. I was slightly concerned when I discover he enjoyed to paint young boys, I hadnt noticed it in his paintings until I came across that information but still his work turns out so beautiful with deep emotions that you can feel by looking at them. Almost all of his paintings have this darker appeal to them. I appreciate the drastic lighting that in which he uses in his paintings. I personally felt that it emphasized the emotion of the story that he was trying to express. Caravaggios work was usually too violent for other people because they werent used to the realism of the work he was creating. I truly enjoy his painting style. The paintings can be disturbing but also fascinating and I find myself indulged in his paintings, observing the emotional persona of each figure and trying to see the story that he painted. My personal favorite of Caravaggios paintings is the Tooth Puller that he painted in 1609. I can sense the variation of emotions in the painting. You can see the anguish and fear in the face and body language of the man getting his tooth pulled, the man pulling out the tooth shows signs of extreme effort and exertion trying to pull out the tooth and I can also see a hint of almost a sadist look as if he is enjoying causing pain to the man getting his tooth pulled. I can see the curiosity and amusement in faces of the people standing around observing the man getting his tooth pulled, the tiny bit of blood escaping the mans mouth makes my own teeth hurt just by the sight of it. I must finish by saying I dont approve of Caravaggios actions, a successful career shouldnt lead you down a path such as his but then again some people are just born with quick tempers and bad attitudes, at least Caravaggio was able to create beautiful paintings.