Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio (1571–1610)
was always a name to be reckoned with. Notorious bad boy of the Italian Baroque, the artist was at once celebrated and controversial, violent in temper, precise in technique, a creative master, and a man on the run.
Though famed for his dramatic use of color, light, and shadow, it was above all Caravaggio’s boundary-breaking naturalism
which scorched his name into the annals of art history. From the dirtied soles of feet to the sexualized languor of bare flesh, the artist allowed even sacred and biblical scenes to unfold with a startling, often visceral humanity
. This vivid pictorial world was accompanied by an equally intense personal biography, scored by gambling, debts, drunken brawls, and even a murder charge.
This book brings together more than 50 of Caravaggio’s most famous and revolutionary works
to explore how and why this artist is now considered the most important painter of the early Baroque period
and one of the defining influences of art history
, without whom Ribera, Vermeer
, Delacroix, Courbet, and Manet could never have painted the way they did.