A look at the people, places, and conspiracies of Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code

Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio

Posted by on Mar 29, 2012 in Art & Artists of The Da Vinci Code | 0 comments

Perhaps it was the frenetic speed at which Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio led his life that resulted in a premature death at the age of thirty-seven (1573- 1610). Perhaps it was his karmic payback for murdering an opponent over a discrepancy in the score during a tennis match. Whatever the cause of Merisi’s death, during the course of his short life he created artwork that was frighteningly realistic and dramatic. As a student of naturalism, Caravaggio never hesitated to reflect the darker side of life with which he was well acquainted.

Although he was orphaned at age eleven, Caravaggio continued his studies in painting. By 1595, he began to sell his work through a dealer, and he was subsequently noticed by Cardinal Francesco del Monte. The Cardinal commissioned the twenty-four year-old Caravaggio to paint three St. Matthew canvases for the church of San Luigi dei Francesi. He created three large paintings using a revolutionary technique, known as tenebrism, the use of dramatic lighting on select forms surrounded by deep shadow. When the paintings were unveiled, however, the public cringed at their realistic nature.

It was about this time that the young Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio began to have trouble with the law. He was put behind bars in Rome on assault charges several times, and then he was incarcerated for the death of the aforementioned tennis player. When Caravaggio was released, he fled Rome for Naples and remained in hiding. Caravaggio´s skills as an artist could not be hidden, however, and his work inn 1607 reflected a dark and desperate countenance. The following year he appeared in Malta, where he was praised for his artistic skills. He was even made a knight of the Maltese Order. Caravaggio kept on the move for the next couple of years. During this time, he produced some of his best work. Judith Beheading Holofernes, Beheading of Saint John the Baptist, Burial of St. Lucy, The Crucifixion of St. Andrew, Flagellation, and Salome with the Head of St. John the Baptist, are just a few of his more gruesomely depicted scenes.

In 1609, Caravaggio was attacked outside an inn and almost killed. Months later, he sailed from Naples to Rome. Along the way he was arrested and imprisoned in Palo for two days. This imprisonment, although short, would prove to be the catalyst of his downfall. He never made it to Rome. When Caravaggio was released from prison, he found that the ship had sailed away with all of his earthly belongings stowed on board. Merisi set out to overtake the ship, but the strain was too much. Collapsing at Port´Ercole in Tuscany a few days later, Caravaggio died of a fever, probably caused by pneumonia, on July 18, 1610. The much-coveted pardon from Pope Paul V arrived three days after his death.

Despite his criminal escapades, Caravaggio is known one of the greatest talents of his day. Merisi Caravaggio’s graphic technique became synonymous with the Baroque painting movement.

 


Citation styles

APA style
Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio . (2012, March 29). In Inside The Da Vinci Code. Retrieved 18:45, February 20, 2017, from http://www.insidethedavincicode.com/michelangelo-merisi-da-caravaggio/
MLA style
classbrain, “Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio .” Inside The Da Vinci Code. 29 March 2012, 06:14 UTC. . 20 Feb 2017 <http://www.insidethedavincicode.com/michelangelo-merisi-da-caravaggio/>.
MHRA style
classbrain, 'Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio ', Inside The Da Vinci Code, 29 March 2012, 06:14 UTC, <http://www.insidethedavincicode.com/michelangelo-merisi-da-caravaggio/> [accessed 20 February 2017]
The Chicago Manual of Style
classbrain, “Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio .” Inside The Da Vinci Code, http://www.insidethedavincicode.com/michelangelo-merisi-da-caravaggio/ [accessed February 20, 2017].
CBE/CSE style
classbrain, Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio [Internet]. Inside The Da Vinci Code; 2012 March 29, 06:14 UTC [cited 2017 Feb 20]. Available from: http://www.insidethedavincicode.com/michelangelo-merisi-da-caravaggio/.
Bluebook style
Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio , http://www.insidethedavincicode.com/michelangelo-merisi-da-caravaggio/ (last visited Feb. 20, 2017).
AMA style
classbrain, Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio . Inside The Da Vinci Code. March 29, 2012, 06:14 UTC. Available at: http://www.insidethedavincicode.com/michelangelo-merisi-da-caravaggio/. Accessed February 20, 2017.

Citation styles

APA style
Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio . (2012, March 29). In Inside The Da Vinci Code. Retrieved 18:45, February 20, 2017, from http://www.insidethedavincicode.com/michelangelo-merisi-da-caravaggio/
MLA style
classbrain, “Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio .” Inside The Da Vinci Code. 29 March 2012, 06:14 UTC. . 20 Feb 2017 <http://www.insidethedavincicode.com/michelangelo-merisi-da-caravaggio/>.
MHRA style
classbrain, 'Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio ', Inside The Da Vinci Code, 29 March 2012, 06:14 UTC, <http://www.insidethedavincicode.com/michelangelo-merisi-da-caravaggio/> [accessed 20 February 2017]
The Chicago Manual of Style
classbrain, “Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio .” Inside The Da Vinci Code, http://www.insidethedavincicode.com/michelangelo-merisi-da-caravaggio/ [accessed February 20, 2017].
CBE/CSE style
classbrain, Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio [Internet]. Inside The Da Vinci Code; 2012 March 29, 06:14 UTC [cited 2017 Feb 20]. Available from: http://www.insidethedavincicode.com/michelangelo-merisi-da-caravaggio/.
Bluebook style
Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio , http://www.insidethedavincicode.com/michelangelo-merisi-da-caravaggio/ (last visited Feb. 20, 2017).
AMA style
classbrain, Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio . Inside The Da Vinci Code. March 29, 2012, 06:14 UTC. Available at: http://www.insidethedavincicode.com/michelangelo-merisi-da-caravaggio/. Accessed February 20, 2017.

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