Michelangelo Caravaggio was one of the greatest painters of all time. He fine tuned the technique of Chiaroscuro to increase drama in paintings. He influenced a lot of other painters like Rembrandt, Rubens, Vélazquez, de La Tour, Gentileschi, De Ribera…
Did you know…?
Caravaggio was notorious for brawling. Because he was a famous painter, his patrons protected him from being prosecuted.
In 1606 he killed a man named Ranuccio Tomassoni
The reasons for the killing are not clear. Some say it was result of a quarrel over a gambling debt and a tennis game
This time his patrons couldn’t protect him anymore and he fled from Rome to Naples
After being the most famous Roman painter, he now became the most famous painter from Naples
Despite his succes, he left a few months later for Malta, to join the Knights of Malta
Soon he was arrested again for another fight. He wounded a knight.
He escaped from prison and fled to a friend in Sicily
All of these events couldn’t stop him from creating masterpieces and his style kept evolving
He became more and more bizarre: sleeping fully armed and with his clothes on, ripping up a painting at a slight word of criticism, mocking the local painters
He died at the age of 39. Officially he died of fever. Some people say he was murdered.
His influence on the history of art can hardly be exaggerated. Followers of his style are called Caravaggisti.
Self portrait as Bacchus
Judith Beheading Holofernes
David and Goliath. The head of the Giant is a self portrait.
Crucifixion of St. Peter
Salome with the Head of John the Baptist. The head is a self portrait of the artist.
Did you know that a masterpiece was literally a master piece: a piece of work that had to proof the creator of the masterpiece had the right skills?
A Dali masterpiece
In mediaval Europe guilds were formed to group craftsmen and merchants with the aim to protect their respective professions and to control the quality of the craft.
In the guilds, knowledge and experience were exchanged. New members were trained in the craft. After a thorough training, a pupil could be recognized as a craftsman with the title of “journeyman”. Everyone who wanted to settle as an independent craftsman had to proof his skill with a master piece: a sort of practical exam that showed the technical skills of the candidate master.
In the Painter’s guilds for instance, the candidate master had to create an original painting according to the guidelines of the guilds.
This painting was his masterpiece.