CARAVAGGIO

Considered the greatest Italian painter of the 17th century, baroque artist Michelangelo Merisi, better known as Caravaggio, Father of Modern Painting, specialized in still lifes and half-length figures. His most notable works are Boy with a Basket of Fruit, Death of a Virgin, and David with the Head of Goliath. Orphaned at 11, Caravaggio became an apprentice to a Milan artist for four years. Early commissioner Cardinal del Monte jumpstarted Caravaggio’s career, tasking him to decorate the Contarelli Chapel, which became his first public work. His art became an immediate sensation, helping him secure a string of religious commissions. Critics praised his work for its extreme realism and stark contrasts of light and dark. Caravaggio was wild, violent, and got into frequent brawls. He stabbed a man over an argument which forced him to flee Rome. He was eventually pardoned but died from a fever shortly after, signifying that great artistic success does not protect one from karma.

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