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Caravaggio

The Conversion of the Magdalene by Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio

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Here at Fine Art America, we love the Master’s. How can we not love the Masters, because the Masters are some of the first art we have ever seen. Think about it. When you were in school, you saw paintings of Monet, Renoir, Rembrandt and Michelangelo. It was the Masters than enabled all of us to have an appreciation for art, right? We know we fell in love with Van Gogh’s “The Starry Night” as soon as we saw it at the MoMa in New York City.

Because it is the Master’s who gave us our appreciation for art, we offer you a Master’s biography, as well as artists who paint in the style of the Master here.

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Biography

Caravaggio was born in Milan, the son of an architect, to a wealthy family. Caravaggio’s father and grandfather died from the plague when Caravaggio was a child. His mother died when he was 13, and he began an apprenticeship in painting to a pupil of Titian, a famous painter of the time, which exposed him to works of both the Italian and German naturalists, which gave his works an air of beauty and sensuality.

Although he came to Rome poor, he quickly found work in studios that were churning out work for the dozens of churches being built. Caravaggio rapidly found success, and only grew in fame. He had the reputation as a bit of a cad, and a penchant for drinking wine and getting into fights. His fame continued to grow, as people clamored for his realistic paintings, and worked steadily until he finally fought one fight too many. He was exiled and had to leave Rome. He wandered around for a few years, and then died – some say of a fever, others say it was a murder, at the age of 38.

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Works

Caravaggio’s works are known for their sensual beauty and their emphasis on the light and the dark with components of naturalism. His paintings give you a feeling of intimacy, as if you are right in the room with him while he is seeing something. His realism in “The Lute Player” and “Boy Bitten by a Lizard” are notable for their realistic portrayal of joy as well as suffering.

In addition, his religious paintings were not traditional. It was expected at the time that paintings were histrionic in their religious portrayal of figures suffering and the promise of salvation, while Caravaggio painted more realistic religious portraits without the promise of salvation.   

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We have many painters who paint in the style of Caravaggio here.  Like the style of Caravaggio, these painters paint in a realistic yet sensual style. There are many paintings of people, as well as religious paintings, and still-lifes, where the fruit appears to burst out at you from the frame. Every time you look at these paintings, you may feel as if you have stepped into the MoMa yourself, or the Art Institute of Chicago, or in another art gallery, perhaps in Paris?  Whatever gallery is your favorite, we know you will find something to treasure.

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