Monday, March 10, 2014

Caravaggio's Style

Due to it's easily recognizable elements of realism, contrast of bold black and light, and the emphasis on co-extensive space, the Caravaggio style of painting became a pattern of painting which other artists soon followed.
Early still life with fruit (1517-1610)

Caravaggio's first know paintings were of still life and of nature. Often mistakes in proportion happened. In 1595, however, Cardinal del Monte welcomed Caravaggio into his court. Caravaggio took advantage of this connection and gained more influential commissions form Rome's wealthiest patrons. During this time, the artists made darker paintings filled with more characters in religious scenes.

The Inspiration of Saint Matthew

From 1600 to 1606, Caravaggio burst into the Roman art scene due to his first major commission: the decoration of the Contarelli Chapel. Despite his temper, problems with the law and increasing price tags, Caravaggio saw commissions pour in.

The Madonna with Child with St. Anne

After murdering in 1606, Caravaggio fled Rome. During this time, his paintings grew even darker, more grim, and unsettling.

Due to his intense level of realism, Caravaggio's work wasn't greatly appreciated by his peers. His attention to detail, from dirty fingernails to bruises upon sacred personages was not befitting for that time.

The Crucifixion of St. Peter

Caravaggio's style of painting did take off however. The dramatic method of contracting dark from light made many of his works very recognizable. The extension of action, or co-extensive space method, made the viewer a part of the scene. During his time and centuries after, Caravaggio's style was harshly criticized for their brute naturalism, overly dramatic effects, and less sophisticated techniques. However, Caravaggio's ability to depict religious scenes in a more human and approachable light could not be unappreciated during that time. Pilgrims of poor backgrounds could finally connect to religious beings in a way that otherwise, they couldn't before.

Helpful Links:
Khan. "Caravaggio Biography." Artble: The Home of Passionate Art Lovers. Khan Academy, 2013. Web. 10 Mar. 2014.

Khan. "Caravaggio's Deposition, or Entombment." -Smarthistory. Khan Academy, n.d. Web. 17 Mar. 2014. <>.

"Still Life - Caravaggio (Michelangelo Merisi Da Caravaggio) - Gallery- Web Gallery of Art." Still Life with Fruit - Carvaggio (Michelangelo Merisi Da Caravaggio) - Gallery - Web Gallery of Art. All Art, 2014. Web. 10 Mar. 2014.

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