CARAVAGGIO / MICHELANGELO MERISI 1/4 – In Rome, in 2010, an exhibition of his work which marked the 400th anniversary of his death attracted more than 580,000 visitors. His career, was short-lived. He killed a man during a brawl and fled Rome. He died not long after, on July, 1610. He was born as Michelangelo Merisi in Italy, around 1571, when the world around was violent and unstable. His father, was a steward and the architect of the marquis of Caravaggio. When he was six, the bubonic plague rolled through his life, killing almost everyone in his family. He was orphaned at age 11, and apprenticed with a painter in Milan.
CARAVAGGIO / MICHELANGELO MERISI 2/4 – He moved to Rome, where his work became popular for the tenebrism technique he used (using shadow to emphasize lighter areas). He loved to walk the streets with a group of painters and swordsmen, who lived by the motto: “without hope, without fear.” Around 1595, he started selling his paintings through a dealer. His work soon caught the attention of an cardinal, who adored his paintings and quickly set him up in his own house.
CARAVAGGIO / MICHELANGELO MERISI 3/4 – He was known for his quick work. Major part of his early works featured chubby, pretty young boys (painted as angels or lutenists). In 1597, he was entrusted to decorate an chapel in Rome. It was an important assignment, creating three large paintings. This opportunity gave him exciting new direction for his painting, where biblical scenes became populated with the prostitutes, beggars and thieves. As his success grew, it caused the painter’s own personal turmoil. He became a violent man, with love for drinking and gambling. His violence erupted when he killed a Roman pimp, Ranuccio Tomassoni.
CARAVAGGIO / MICHELANGELO MERISI 4/4 – Immediately after assassination, he ran away from Rome, but even when he fled from punishment for his crime, his fame followed him. In Malta, he created “Beheading of St. John the Baptist”. In 1610 on the way back to Rome, he was arrested. Upon his release, he resumed his journey until Porto Ercole, where died in July, 1610. He was considered one of the fathers of modern painting. His work greatly influenced so many future masters. Even though he was shunned after his death, he eventually came to be recognized as one of the founding fathers of modern painting.
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