Michelangelo Merisi, also Michael Angelo Merigi, called Caravaggio for short after his parents' place of origin (Caravaggio in Lombardy) (* 29 September 1571 in Milan; † 18 July 1610 in Porto Ercole on Monte Argentario), was an important Italian painter of the early Baroque period.
Caravaggio was distinguished by his novel and realistic pictorial design. He broke new ground primarily in his treatment of Christian themes by linking the sacred with the profane. His most important pictorial innovation was the chiaroscuro, the chiaroscuro painting, as a design element of the scenes. Together with Annibale Carracci, he is considered the overcomer of Mannerism and the founder of Roman Baroque painting.
Caravaggio led an eventful life. After an apprenticeship with Simone Peterzano in Milan, he traveled to Rome, where he rose from a penniless artist to the favored painter of the Roman cardinals. Banished from Rome for manslaughter, he settled in Naples and later Malta. In Malta he was made a Knight of the Order of Malta, but fled from there to Sicily after a physical altercation and returned to Naples after a year. Waiting for his banishment from Rome to be lifted, he died at the age of 38. Soon after his untimely death, legends began to form that made him the "archetype of the wicked artist." To this day, the "Caravaggio myth" remains unbroken.
He exerted a lasting influence on many Italian, Dutch, French, German and Spanish painters of his time, some of whom are also referred to as Caravaggists.
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49 | The Lute Player (Der Lautenspieler), c. 1595-1600
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