The historic centre of Rome is a truly unique zone. Unique both for having endured a rich and varied history that remains almost entirely intact up to the present day, and for its ability to offer spectacular works of art that can also be appreciated by future generations. A few of these master works have become known for their particular capacity to testify to man’s spirituality and humanism.
The Sixteenth and Seventeeth Centuries are our guides in a fascinating itinerary through the lives and stories of the masterpieces of one of the greatest Italian artists: Caravaggio.
The unstable, bellicose and turbulent nature of the genius that was Caravaggio makes it impossible to identify one place where the artist created his works on a long-term basis. His contemporary and friend Claris Floris Van Dyck recounts how “after a few years of working, Caravaggio traveled from city to city in the employment of various men of import. A great laborer yet proud and stubborn, he is always at the ready for any argument or fight, making it extremely difficult to get along with him.” Of all the cities where Caravaggio painted (Rome, Naples, Malta, Syracuse, Messina and Palermo) Rome is the most privileged, even if a large part of the paintings done there are now dispersed around the world (e.g. Russia, Austria, France, and the United States). However, it should be mentioned that such is the result of Caravaggio’s own liberal painting style, so realistic and visionary that many of his commissioners forcefully and often rejected his “overly-innovative” first versions. Michelangelo Merisi (so-called Caravaggio), born in 1570 in Milan, arrived in Rome in 1592, “naked and extremely hungry” and just a little over 20 years of age.
To learn more, explore the Caravaggio's works with our itinerary.
Michelangelo Merisi, known as Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio or, more commonly, Caravaggio (Milan, September 29, 1571 – Porto Ercole, July 18, 1610), is one of the most celebrated Italian painters of all time.
Educated in Milan and Venice, and having worked in Rome, Naples, Malta and Sicily between 1593 and 1610, Caravaggio created countless works for the Roman Catholic Church.
His paintings, which realized a dramatic combination of the physical state with human emotion – and represented in his own particular play of light or chiaroscuro – had an enormous influence on the evolution of Baroque painting.
Unstable and combative, Carravaggio endured continuous vicissitudes during his brief life. When on May 28, 1606, he was convicted for homicide and thus condemned to death, he decided to flee.
He died mysteriously two months later.
Caravaggio’s style (Caravaggismo) has had a monumental effect, directly and indirecetly, on much of painting in consequent centuries. It has become a fundamental reference for so many painters up unto the present day.