Visual Encyclopedia

Caravaggio

Michelangelo Merisi (Michele Angelo Merigi or Amerighi) da Caravaggio (/ˌkærəˈvæi/, US: /-ˈvɑː-/; Italian pronunciation: [mikeˈlandʒelo meˈriːzi da (k)karaˈvaddʒo]; 28 September 1571 – 18 July 1610) was an Italian painter active in Rome, Naples, Malta, and Sicily from the early 1590s to 1610. His paintings combine a realistic observation of the human state, both physical and emotional, with a dramatic use of lighting, and they had a formative influence on Baroque painting.

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Too Much Drama?

Caravaggio was renown for his use of tenebrism, which is an intense contrast between light and dark. Tenebrism adds drama and eeriness to a scene by making utter darkness the dominant feature of a painting and allowing certain figures to be illuminated. Among those impressed with his skill, he also had critics who found his techniques distasteful and overly dramatic. The painting above is Narcissus (1597-99). What do you think?

Contributed by Taylor Jackson

The Musicians

There were wings on the boy in the back, but someone (not the artist) painted over them. Because of the wings and the quiver that can still be seen, it was probably supposed to be a depiction of Cupid.

Contributed by Jessica Mallard

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