Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio [1571-1610]

Young Sick Bacchus [Self Portrait]
Italian painter

Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio*

was born,
September 29, 1571
in Milan, Italy.
Caravaggio is actually the name of his home town in Lombardy in northern Italy

An artist who lived a short and tempestuous life matching the drama of his works. He is considered the first great representative of the Baroque school. Caravaggio is known for his characteristic depiction of light and use of live models. Using the techniques of chiaroscuro, also known as tenebrism*, the artist painted shadows to compose forms and highlight areas of color within a given scene.

He’s been characterized as arrogant, dangerous, enigmatic, fascinating, rebellious and a murderer among other things, undoubtedly though, he was one of the most [if not THE most] influential painters in the history of art. Caravaggio was also one of the most widely imitated artists in the history of western art, with many followers, some of which formed the Caravaggisti.

There are many stories about him and his turbulent life that can be found in books or the internet, however this is a post honoring this great master’s art.

Tenebrism, in the history of Western painting, the use of extreme contrasts of light and dark in figurative compositions to heighten their dramatic effect. (The term is derived from the Latin tenebrae, “darkness.”) In tenebrist paintings, the figures are often portrayed against a background of intense darkness, but the figures themselves are illuminated by a bright, searching light that sets off their three-dimensional forms by a harsh but exquisitely controlled chiaroscuro. The technique was actually introduced by Caravaggio.

So here’s a glimpse of his work & very very few words
Ecce Homo

I am always learning.

Saint Francis of Assisi in Ecstasy
Nativity with St. Francis and St. Lawrence
Death of the Virgin

“All works, no matter what or by whom painted, are nothing but bagatelles and childish trifles… unless they are made and painted from life, and there can be nothing… better than to follow nature.”

Penitent Mary Magdalene
Saint Jerome Writing
Supper at Emmaus
The Calling of Saint Matthew
The Crucifixion of Saint Peter
The Denial of Saint Peter
The gypsy fortune teller
The Fortune Teller
The Incredulity of Saint Thomas
The Lute Player
The Entombment of Christ
The Raising of Lazarus
The Rest on the Flight into Egypt

Boy with a Basket of Fruit
Conversion on the Way to Damascus
David and Goliath
David with the head of Goliath
The Taking of Christ
Crucifixion of Saint Andrew
The Seven Works of Mercy
The Beheading of Saint John
Salome with the Head of John the Baptist
Urban VIII
Alof de Wignacourt
Amor Vincit Omnia

“Amor Vincit Omnia (Love conquers all).”

Judith Beheading Holofernes
Christ at the Column
The Musicians

I’ve chosen two Italian composers of his time to listen to:

Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina [1525–1594]

Viri Galilaei

Ensemble Vocal Europeén de la Chapelle Royale
Dir : Philippe Herreweghe


Giovanni Paolo Cima [c. 1570 – 1630]

Sonata for violin and cello

San Francisco early music ensemble Voices of Music
Elizabeth Blumenstock, baroque violin
Elisabeth Reed, baroque cello
Hanneke van Proosdij, baroque organ
David Tayler, Theorbo. Pitch: 466Hz; temperament: meantone

For more information on Caravaggio:








My good friend, Mobius Faith posted a brilliant video about Caravaggio’s work: Caravaggio’s Art It’s worth viewing!


Be Safe

36 replies »

  1. Alway great to review these posts, Marina!
    Drew AGM Marina last night!
    Will send it tomorrow. LOL, I should draw some feet!
    xoxoxoxoxoxoxo xoxoxo 🧽🧽

  2. could there have been a more masterful artists than he? His paintings are breathtaking…”The Rest on the Flight into Egypt”…so stunning, each and every one and to accompany surely some of the most beautiful music ever. Thank you dear Marina! ❤

  3. He was definitely an amazing painter…like early photographs, in a sense.
    Some of the subject matter of the times is quite gruesome, religion making it okay, somehow.
    Prefer I: his portraits of musicians, Boy with Basket of Fruit, Love Conquers All and the 2 Fortunetellers.

    A fun challenge for us, Marina! Can we each find 12 things different between the Fortune Teller &The Gypsy Fortune Teller? I think found 10 so far!

    The music was perfect!

  4. Thanks for this post, Marina! Caravaggio is my favourite artist from this period. He also was probably the artist with the most WILD life at that time. That’s OK to be a Master at his craft and NOT do things like everyone else. His results show that he was doing something right, and that matters a lot.

    • One can never know the facts or at least the details of his life but it is well known that great minds [as he was] are very often troubled and I’m not saying that in a ‘negative’ way. Of course he was doing more than something right! 😉 Such talent is just too much to grasp… especially nowadays. Thank you, my friend!

  5. Another compilation for us to savor. Thank you, Marina. The use of tenebrism and chiaroscuro in his religious works are stunning exemplars. He also seemed to plumb the depths of anatomy in these as well, whereas some of the others seem more superficial depictions. Wonderful!!

    • This is very true. I think it’s a combination of anatomy knowledge and deep understanding of human emotions. He’s capturing the very souls. One can ‘read’ so much on every inch of a body and face depicted… it’s almost unfathomable what he does.
      I’m so happy you enjoyed this very limited and humble homage to him.

Happy to hear your thoughts

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