CARAVAGGIO

Painting Canvases Baroque

Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio, (29 September 1571–18 July 1610) has left in Rome superb masterpieces. His intense realism together with a wise use of lighting has influenced the Baroque school of painting.
He introduced a combination of naturalism with a theatrical, use of the Chiaroscuro, which fixed, like in a frame, the subject. After been forgotten almost immediately after his death, has been rediscovered in the 20th century and is considered one of the most important artist of western art.

caravaggio filmstrip

Masterworks

The Calling of Saint Mattew
In 1599 Caravaggio was contracted to decorate the Contarelli Chapel in the church of San Luigi dei Francesi. The two works making up the commission, the Martyrdom of Saint Matthew and Calling of Saint Matthew, delivered in 1600, were an immediate sensation. Caravaggio’s tenebrism (a heightened chiaroscuro) brought high drama to his subjects, while his acutely observed realism brought a new level of emotional intensity.

The Conversion on the Way to Damascus
The Conversion on the Way to Damascus was painted in 1601 for the Cerasi Chapel of the church of Santa Maria del Popolo. The painting depicts the moment recounted in Chapter 9 of Acts of the Apostles when Saul, soon to be the apostle Paul, fell on the road to Damascus. He heard the Lord say “I am Jesus, whom you persecute, arise and go into the city.

The Crucifixion of Saint Peter
The painting depicts the martyrdom of St. Peter by crucifixion. Peter asked that his cross be inverted so as not to imitate his mentor, Christ, hence he is depicted upside-down. The large canvas shows Romans, their faces shielded, struggling to erect the cross of the elderly but muscular St. Peter. Peter is heavier than his aged body would suggest, and his lifting requires the efforts of three men, as if the crime they perpetrate already weighs on them.

The Entombment of Christ
It was painted for Santa Maria in Vallicella, a church built for the Oratory of Saint Philip Neri, and now it is among the treasures of the Vatican Pinacoteca. While there is much in this representation that was revolutionary for Caravaggio’s time, it is not clear that the highly naturalistic reconstruction of a gospel event in this painting would have been antithetical to the vividly faithful Oratorians, who sought to relive experiences through prayer.
Madonna dei Palafrenieri

Madonna dei Palafrenieri
The painting was briefly exhibited in the parish church for the Vatican, the church of Sant’Anna dei Palafrenieri on the Via di Porta Angelica in Borgo, near the Vatican. It was subsequently sold to Cardinal Scipione Borghese, and now hangs in his palazzo (Galleria Borghese), where it shares space along with five other Caravaggios: Boy with a basket of fruit, David with the head of Goliath, Young sick Bacchus, Saint Jerome Writing, and St John the Baptist in the Desert.

Madonna of the Pilgrims
Located in the Cavalletti Chapel of the church of Sant’Agostino, depicts the apparition of the barefoot virgin and naked child to two peasants on a pilgrimage. Like many of Caravaggio’s Roman paintings, the scene is a moment where everyday common people encounters the divine, whose appearance is also not unlike that of a common person.

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