Monday, October 21, 2013


Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio 1571-1610
Michelangelo Merisi was a Baroque artist known as Caravaggio, named after the town where he was born. When he was very young his father, grandfather and uncle died from the plague, leaving his mother a widow to bring up four children.
In 1584 he entered the workshop of Simone Peterzano in Milan and by the time he was twenty he was working in Rome at the studio of Giuseppe Cesari painting still-life fruit and flowers.
Caravaggio was often in trouble with the law for brawling with other painters, soldiers, labourers or police officers.
In 1594 he appeared amongst the employees of Cardinal de Monte whose household he stayed with until 1600. The cardinal introduced him to Roman collectors including the Barberini Family.
During this time he painted Sick Bacchus and Young Boy with Basket of Fruit and received his first commission, the decoration of the Contarelli Chapel in the church of San Luigi dei Francesi.
In 1605 he was in trouble with the law, escaping to Genoa after wounding a scribe and again in 1606 after murdering an acquaintance during a racket match. He escaped to Naples and while here he painted the seven works of the Mercy of the Madonna and the Madonna Rosario. Caravaggio, a fugitive, could have been captured and executed anywhere in Italy and he waited in vain for a pardon from the Pope. He left for Malta where he painted the Beheading of John the Baptist, was captured and then fled to Sicily, returning to Naples in 1609, he was assaulted and wounded in a tavern brawl and then finally received his pardon and could return to Rome only to die during the voyage. He was not yet 40 years old.

Caravaggio Art in Rome
Galleria Borghese
Young Boy with Basket of Fruit
The Sick Bacchus
St. Jerome
The Madonna dei Palafrenieri
David with the Head of Goliath
San Giovannino
Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Antica
The Decapitation of Holofernes
The Narcissus
St John the Baptist in the Desert
Galleria Doria Pamphilj
The Maddalena
Pinacoteca Vaticana
The Deposition of Christ
Pinacoteca Capitoline
The Good Luck
St John the Baptist
Santa Maria della Concezione
St Francis Meditating
San Luigi dei Francesi
St Matthew and the Angel
Martyrdom of St Matthew
Vocation of St Matthew
The Madonna dei Pellegrini
Santa Maria del Popolo
Conversion of St Paul
Crucifixion of St Peter

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These are a few of my favourite books about Rome

The Cardinal's Hat by Mary Hollingsworth
This book tells the story of one of the sons of Lucrezia Borgia who became a cardinal during the 16th century.

The Tigress of Forli by Elizabeth Lev
I love this book telling the story of Caterina Sforza who was fighting against the Borgia pope to retain the rights of her land and her freedom.

The Popes by John Julius Norwich
A detailed but easy and enjoyable book to read about the history of the papacy and the popes.

The Pope's Daughter by Caroline P Murphy
This book describes in beautiful detail, the life and times of Pope Julius II daughter, Felice della Rovere.

The Families Who Made Rome by Anthony Majanlahti
I love this Book! It explains the families who made Rome what it is as we see it today and also looks at their triumphs, scandals and failures.

Rome by Robert Hughes
This book explains Rome from its beginning and expands on the Renaissance and Baroque until present times.

The Lost Painting by Jonathan Harr
Another of my favourite reads about a lost Caravaggio painting and the search for its provenance.