Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio
Italian, 1571-1610
Collected by a major museum
Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields
Caravaggio and the Painters of the North,
Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza
Beyond Caravaggio,
The National Gallery, London

Baroque painter Caravaggio (born Michelangelo Merisi in the town of Caravaggio, just ouside Milan) is best known for his bold, realistic style and the dramatic expression of his striking compositions—from the severed heads of Goliath and snaked-hair Medusa to sensual bacchanal youths to overflowing bowls of glistening fruit and flowers. Contrasting light and shadow using a technique called chiaroscuro, Caravaggio infused his works, like The Calling of St Matthew (1599-1600), with such visual and psychological intensity and energy that the forms seem to burst from the picture plane. Caravaggio’s realism and chiaroscuro technique made a lasting impression on generations of artists, including Rubens, Rembrandt, Velázquez and Murillo.

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