"The Supper at Emmaus"
MICHELANGELO MERISI DA CARAVAGGIO BIOGRAPHY
Caravaggio was a radical Italian Baroque painter, raving
lunatic sword fighter/murderer who shocked the art world by painting
naturalistic images of religious subjects. He was the innovator of using
transparent shading penetrated by a bright light from a high source to
Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio
was born on September 29, 1571 in Caravaggio,
Italy - which is where he got his surname. He was an orphan by
the age of 11. Caravaggio received an apprenticeship in Milan
and won a cardinal's patronage at the age of 19. He began
painting religious settings which featured common, ordinary,
realistic looking people in current settings, instead of
glorifying the saints that were painted at the time. This was
considered shocking and radical. Among his famous works are
"The Supper at Emmaus"
Deposition of Christ"
(1602-1604) and "Death of the Virgin"
(1605-1606), which featured a virgin with bare legs and fat
stomach--this was promptly rejected by the Carmelites.
Caravaggio was famous for
his depiction of realistic looking people, as in the
"Madonna of Loreto"
(1604), where the subjects have dirty feet facing towards the
viewer. Caravaggio began using dramatic
transparent shading penetrated by a bright light from a high
source to depict ecstasy or divinity.
The people in his painting are
often coming out of darkness, with their faces and bodies
strongly lit up. Caravaggio painted directly on canvas, which
was against common day protocol. Caravaggio's famous
(1608) features his later-style loose brushwork.
Caravaggio had a violent
temper. At around 29 years old, his name began appearing in
police records. In 1600 Caravaggio was arrested for a
sword fight in which he wounded a guard, which was really only a
sport wound. He also was arrested for writing insulting verses
about another artist, attacking a waiter, stoning a police
officer and wounding a notary in a fight over a girl. While all
this insanity was happening, Caravaggio was becoming known for
his controversial paintings, which critics
described as vulgar.
In 1606, Caravaggio got
into an argument with his tennis opponent over the score. This
led to a sword fight, which Caravaggio won by killing the man.
He fled the town and went to Malta, where he was made a knight
after painting a portrait of the head of the Knights of Malta.
Only a few months later, Caravaggio was involved in another
sword fight with his superior officer and was jailed. By
1608, Caravaggio escaped jail and was on the run from the
Knights of Malta. They finally caught up with Caravaggio and
mutilated his face almost beyond recognition. In 1610, a sickly
Caravaggio was walking on a beach in Tuscany and had a fever.
Caravaggio collapsed and died at the age of 38 on July 18, 1610
on the beach.
During his lifetime, Caravaggio was dismissed by
critics as a passing fad. 400 years later Caravaggio is
now getting worldwide recognition for his brilliant and