Michelangelo Merizi da Caravaggio was the artist who shaped the Baroque
On this day in 1571, Michelangelo Merizi da Caravaggio was born, the Italian painter who established the chiaroscuro technique, laid the foundations of the Baroque, and subsequently inspired generations and generations of artists.
He was one of the greatest painters of religious scenes, while he was strongly inspired by biblical stories and the events of the Bible. This is where Caravaggio pioneered, drawing biblical characters as ordinary everyday people.
He was born in Milan and quickly took up painting. From an early age he was apprenticed to painters, and alongside them he learned the art of painting, the course of which he was to later influence more than anyone else.
With the technique of chiaroscuro – a separate, his own invention of shading that gives his work unique depths, mystery and drama – combined with tenebrism – a technique where darkness is used as the essential element of the work -, he managed to stamp the baroque school of painting.
His paintings are objects of admiration, not only by critics and art people, but also by anyone who happens to be in front of the perfect images, which he transferred to the canvas with such realism and revolution.
He painted at great speed, without preparatory drawings. Detailed investigations of his paintings reveal that there were no traces of design, while only some rough engravings were used, mainly to determine the position of the models. It is believed that the use of live models was a key component of the realism he sought to convey. His work was often the object of accusations and harsh criticism, due to its intense and revolutionary realism, and this led Caravaggio to a temporary obscurity after his death.
His influence on the painting art of Europe is indisputable, while many characterize him as one of the first modern painters. Today, his works are distributed in almost all corners of Europe, giving the opportunity to those who want to get to know the wonderful work of the controversial and talented painter of the Italian Baroque.
His creations are many and all unique and worthy of admiration. But there are ten that always manage to stand out in the crowd and attract attention.
Bacchus is depicted as an Italian teenager, with all the features of the 17th century. The god of wine, revelry and madness looks like a simple young man with a peaceful face. Many have been quick to say that Caravaggio drew the young Dionysus with himself in mind, while an exquisite detail of the painting shows the painter’s figure in the reflection of the wine. The painting is in the Uffizi Gallery in Florence.
The Mantissa (1596-1597)
In a break by the artist from depicting biblical scenes and famous people, this painting was created that shows a simple everyday scene. Such a scene was common in the rest of Europe, but not in Italy and certainly not in the work of the Baroque painter. But it shows Caravaggio’s inclination to paint that inspired him at that particular moment. It is in the Louvre Museum, Paris.
The distinctive element of this work lies in the object on which it was created. It is painted on a ceremonial shield, the surface of which had a slope, which Caravaggio took as a challenge. A challenge that he won and thus gave a unique perspective to the result. Located in the Uffizi Gallery, Florence.
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