米开朗基罗·梅里西·达·卡拉瓦乔Caravaggio

米开朗基罗·梅里西·达·卡拉瓦乔(意大利语:Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio,1571年9月29日1610年7月18日),意大利画家1593年1610年间活跃于罗马那不勒斯马耳他西西里。他通常被认为属于巴洛克画派,对巴洛克画派的形成有重要影响。

人物关系
  • 中文名卡拉瓦乔
  • 外文名Caravaggio
  • 性别
  • 国籍意大利
  • 出生地意大利
  • 出生日期1571年9月29日
  • 逝世日期1610年7月18日
  • 职业画家
  • 代表作品《圣乌尔苏拉殉难
中文介绍

传记

生命早期(1571 - 1592)

 

阿西西的圣方济的狂喜(c.1595)

卡拉瓦乔(米开朗基罗意大利或Amerighi)出生在米兰他父亲,接风(接风Merixio),是一个家庭管理员和architect-decorator Marchese的吗卡拉瓦乔小镇不远的城市贝加莫.[10]他的母亲,卢西亚Aratori(Lutia de Oratoribus),来自一个有财产的家庭相同的地区。[11]1576年全家搬到了卡拉瓦乔(Caravaggius)逃避瘟疫肆虐米兰,和卡拉瓦乔的父亲在1577年去世。[12]假设这位艺术家在卡拉瓦乔长大,但他的家人保持联系斯福尔扎和强大的报摊的家庭与斯福尔扎,盟军的婚姻,注定要扮演重要的角色在卡拉瓦乔的生活。

卡拉瓦乔的母亲死于1584年,同年,他开始了他四年的学徒到米兰的画家西蒙Peterzano,学徒合同中描述的学生提香卡拉瓦乔似乎一直Milan-Caravaggio地区他的学徒期结束后,但可能他访问威尼斯,看到的作品乔尔乔内,谁费德里科•Zuccari后指责他模仿,提香.[13]他也会熟悉米兰的艺术珍品,包括列奥纳多·达·芬奇最后的晚餐,伦巴第地区艺术价值的简单性和注意的风格自然主义的细节和接近德国的自然主义风格形式和罗马的辉煌怪癖.[14]

罗马(1592/95 - 1600)

 

音乐家,1595 - 1596,大都会艺术博物馆,纽约.

卡拉瓦乔在1592年离开了米兰,罗马,在飞行中在“某些争吵”和一名警察受伤。他抵达罗马“裸和特困家庭……没有固定的地址,没有规定……缺钱。”[15]几个月后他被成功执行下锅之作朱塞佩·塞萨里,教皇克莱门特八世最喜欢的艺术家,“画的花和水果”[16]在他的工厂车间。知道从这个时期包括一个小作品男孩剥水果(他的最早的绘画)男孩用一篮子水果,年轻的生病的酒神巴克斯在恢复期,据说一个自画像的严重疾病和塞萨里结束了他的工作。所有三个演示物理卡拉瓦乔是成为著名的特殊性:fruit-basket-boy的生产已经被教授分析了园艺,谁是能够识别单个品种到“…大杰出的真菌烧焦病变类似的遮羞布炭疽病(Glomerella炭疽病)。”[17]

 

篮子里的水果,c。1595 - 1596年,布面油画,Pinacoteca Ambrosiana,米兰.

卡拉瓦乔离开塞萨里,决心要让自己的方式。在这一点上他伪造一些极其重要的友谊,与画家普洛斯彼罗奥尔西,架构师Onorio Longhi,16岁西西里艺术家马里奥Minniti《成立于这个行业,介绍他认识了有影响力的收藏家,Longhi,更有害地,将他介绍给世界的罗马大街上;和Minniti作为模型,年后,将有助于卡拉瓦乔重要委员会在西西里。[18]

算命的,这是他第一次作文有超过一个图,显示了马里奥被一个吉普赛女孩骗了。罗马主题很新,事实证明非常有影响力的在下个世纪和超越。然而,这是在未来:当时,卡拉瓦乔销售几乎没有。在打牌常作弊者——显示另一个天真的青年的特权卡骗子的受害者,更是心理上的复杂,也许卡拉瓦乔的第一个真正的杰作。就像算命先生,它是非常受欢迎的,超过50份生存。更重要的是,它吸引了赞助的红衣主教弗朗西斯科·玛丽亚·德尔蒙特在罗马,一个领先的鉴赏家。德尔蒙特和他的富有的圆,不禁卡拉瓦乔的亲密chamber-pieces——执行音乐家,琵琶的球员,醉了酒神巴克斯一个寓言,但现实的男孩被蜥蜴——以Minniti和其他青少年模型。

 

Judith斩首荷罗孚尼1598 - 1599。重回国家队的Galleria d 'Arte Antica,罗马。

返回的现实主义与卡拉瓦乔的第一画宗教主题,和非的灵性的出现。第一个是忏悔的抹大拉,显示抹大拉的马利亚的时候她从生活作为一个情妇,坐在地板上哭泣,她的珠宝散落在她。“这似乎不是一个宗教绘画……一个女孩坐在一个较低的木凳子干燥头发……在哪里悔改…痛苦……救恩的承诺?”[19]

低调,伦巴第的方式,而不是演员在罗马的方式。随后其他相同的风格:圣凯瑟琳;马大和马利亚;Judith斩首荷罗孚尼;献以撒;阿西西的圣方济的狂喜;其他的航班上进入埃及作品,而被一个相对有限的循环,增加了卡拉瓦乔的名声鉴赏家和他的艺术家。但是一个真正的声誉将取决于公共委员会,和这些有必要去教堂。

已经明显是卡拉瓦乔的强烈的现实主义或自然主义现在是著名的。他喜欢画他的臣民的眼睛看到他们,与他们所有的自然缺陷和缺陷而不是理想的作品。这允许一个完整显示卡拉瓦乔的艺术名家的人才。这种转变从接受的标准实践的古典理想主义米开朗基罗很有争议的。不仅是他的现实主义作品的一个显著特征在此期间,他转身离开传统在意大利中部冗长的准备。相反,他更喜欢威尼斯的实践工作油直接从主题——半身的人物和静物。卡拉瓦乔的绘画特点之一在这个时候给一个好的演示他的精湛技术是他的工作在以马忤斯的晚餐从c。1600 - 1601。

“在罗马最著名的画家”(1600 - 1606)

 

圣马太的调用(1599 - 1600)。Contarelli教堂,圣路易吉一些Francesi,罗马进入画面的光束从一个真正的窗口,眨眼之间转换的表达圣马太,取决于他的命运将,没有会飞的天使,离别云或其他工件。

1599年,想必通过德尔蒙特的影响,卡拉瓦乔是装饰的简约Contarelli教堂在教堂的路易吉一些Francesi这两个工作委员会,殉难圣马太称圣马太发表于1600年,是一个直接的感觉。卡拉瓦乔暗色调主义(一个高度明暗对比的)高戏剧带到他的臣民,他敏锐地观察到现实主义带来了新的情感强度水平。意见在卡拉瓦乔的艺术家同行被极化。一些谴责他对各种感知失败,特别是他坚持绘画从生活,没有图纸,但在大多数情况下,他被誉为伟大的艺术远见:“然后,画家在罗马被大大被这新奇,年轻人特别是聚集在他周围,称赞他是大自然的独特的模仿者,并看着他的工作是奇迹。”[20]

卡拉瓦乔继续安全的一系列著名的佣金为宗教作品中暴力斗争,怪诞斩首,酷刑和死亡,其中最引人注目的、技术最娴熟的基督的服用加尼姆1602年左右的家庭,最近重新发现了两个世纪后在爱尔兰。大部分每个新绘画增加他的名声,但是一些被拒绝由各种机构来说,他们的目的,至少在最初的形式,或的时候,不得不寻找新的买家。的本质问题是卡拉瓦乔的戏剧性的强度赞赏的时候,他的现实主义是被一些人视为不可接受的庸俗。[21]

他的第一个版本圣马太福音使者圣人,作为一个光头农民肮脏的腿轻轻复合不过了boy-angel出席,被拒绝,不得不被描绘为第二个版本圣马太的灵感同样的,保罗的转换被拒绝,而另一个版本的相同的主题,转换到大马士革的路上接受,以圣人的马的臀部比圣更突出自己,促使这个艺术家和一位愤怒的官员之间的交换Santa Maria del Popolo:“你为什么把一匹马在中间,和保罗在地上?”“因为!”“是神马?”“不,但是他站在上帝的光!”[22]

 

彼得的受难,1601年。Cerasi教堂,Santa Maria del Popolo,罗马.

其他作品包括埋葬,麦当娜住迪洛雷托(麦当娜的朝圣者)新郎的麦当娜,圣母之死最后这两幅画的历史说明了接待给卡拉瓦乔的艺术,和他生活的时代。新郎的麦当娜,也被称为麦当娜一些palafrenieri,画一个小坛在罗马圣彼得大教堂,在那里住了两天,然后起飞。一个红衣主教的秘书写道:“在这幅画里有但粗俗,亵渎,impiousness和厌恶……人会说这是一个由一个画家可以画好,但是一个黑暗的精神,和很多时间一直远离神,从他的崇拜,和任何好的想法…圣母之死委托,于1601年由一个富裕的法学家对他的私人教堂在新迦圣玛利亚教堂德拉Scala,于1606年修会的拒绝了。卡拉瓦乔的当代朱里奥曼奇尼记录,它将被拒绝,因为卡拉瓦乔使用了一个著名的妓女,他的模型的处女。[23]

尼Baglione另一个当代告诉我们它是由于玛丽的裸腿[24]——礼仪在这两种情况下的问题。卡拉瓦乔学者约翰裂缝表明会可能是神学的问题而不是美学,卡拉瓦乔的版本无法维护的原则玛丽的假设,即神的母亲没有死在任何普通的感觉,但认为进入天堂。[需要引证]更换装饰画委托(从卡拉瓦乔的一个最能干的追随者,卡洛Saraceni),显示圣母没有死,卡拉瓦乔画她,但坐在和死亡;甚至是拒绝,,取而代之的是工作显示圣母不死,但提升到天堂的天使唱诗班。在任何情况下,拒绝并不意味着卡拉瓦乔或他的画作是失宠。维珍刚取出的死亡比购买教堂的曼图亚公爵的建议鲁本斯,后来收购英国查理一世在进入1671年法国皇家收藏。

 

爱战胜一切1601 - 1602。Gemaldegalerie,柏林卡拉瓦乔显示丘比特普遍在所有人类活动:战争、音乐、科学、政府。

从这几年是一个世俗的埃莫胜利,创作于1602年Vincenzo Giustiniani成员Del Monte的圆。模型被任命为在17世纪早期的回忆录“Cecco”,弗朗西斯科的爱称。他可能是弗朗西斯科·Boneri,与艺术家活跃在1610 - 1625年期间,被称为Cecco del卡拉瓦乔(“卡拉瓦乔Cecco”),[25]带着弓和箭的女子,践踏脚下的战争与和平的艺术和科学的象征。他没穿衣服,很难接受这个笑容海胆罗马神话丘比特——因为它是很难接受卡拉瓦乔的其他半裸的青少年各种天使他画在他的画布,穿着同样的舞台道具的翅膀。这一点,然而,还激烈的模棱两可的现实的工作:丘比特和Cecco同时,卡拉瓦乔的处女同时基督的母亲和罗马妓女建模。

 

杰罗姆,1605 - 1606,波勒兹广场,罗马.

流亡和死亡(1606 - 1610)

卡拉瓦乔过着动荡的生活。他臭名昭著的斗殴,甚至在一个时间和地点这种行为普遍的时候,和他的警方记录和审判程序的记录填满几页。1606年5月29日,他被杀,可能无意中,一位年轻的名叫Ranuccio Tomassoni特尔尼 (翁布里亚)。争吵和死亡的情况下Ranuccio Tomassoni保持神秘。几个当代avvisi称为争吵赌债和网球比赛,和这个解释已经成为建立在大众的想象力。[26]但是最近的奖学金已明确表示,更多的参与。良好的现代账户中彼得·罗伯和海伦兰登的卡拉瓦乔:生活。死亡有关的一个有趣的理论,文艺复兴时期的荣誉观念和符号已经被艺术史学家先进受伤安德鲁Graham-Dixon.[27]以前他的高层顾客保护他从他的越轨行为的后果,但这一次他们可以什么都不做。卡拉瓦乔,取缔,逃到那不勒斯外面,罗马当局管辖和保护的报摊的家庭,在罗马最著名的画家在那不勒斯成为最著名的。他的连接报摊导致了一系列的重要的教会委员会,包括麦当娜的念珠,七个仁慈.[28]

尽管他的成功在那不勒斯,仅仅几个月后在城市卡拉瓦乔马耳他的总部马耳他骑士团,大概是希望的赞助Alof de Wignacourt大师的骑士,可以帮助他获得赦免Tomassoni的死亡。De Wignacourt如此深刻的印象,有著名的艺术家正式画家秩序,他教给他作为一个骑士,和早期传记作家Bellori记录艺术家和他的成功喜悦。从他的马耳他期间包括一个巨大的主要作品被砍头的施洗圣约翰(唯一的绘画,他把签名)和一个的画像Alof de Wignacourt和他的页面骑士,以及其他主要的肖像。然而,1608年8月底他被逮捕和监禁。幸运围绕此突变的情况一直是一种猜测,但最近的调查揭示它是另一个争论的结果,在一个房子的门是打击下来骑士重受伤。[29]他被囚禁的骑士和设法逃脱。在12月,他被开除出秩序”作为犯规和腐烂的成员。”[30]

一幅画,暂时日期为1600年和1610年之间,被一些专家认为是卡拉瓦乔的第二个版本的Judith斩首荷罗孚尼被发现在一个阁图卢兹在2014年。出口禁令是由法国政府放在这幅画而测试进行了建立其出处。[31][32]

 

七个仁慈,1606 - 1607,Pio蒙德拉Misericordia,那不勒斯.

卡拉瓦乔西西里在那里他遇见了他的老朋友马里奥Minniti,现在结了婚,住在是谁锡拉丘兹他们一起开始了相当于从锡拉丘兹凯旋墨西拿也许,在岛首都巴勒莫在锡拉丘兹和梅西纳卡拉瓦乔继续赢得声望和高薪佣金。从这一时期其他作品之一圣露西埋葬,拉撒路的提高,朝拜的牧羊人现在他的风格继续发展,显示出檐壁分离的数据对巨大的空背景。“他伟大的西西里圣坛雕刻隔离他们的影子,可怜人物大片的黑暗,他们认为人的绝望的恐惧和脆弱,同时传达,还用一个新的荒凉的温柔,美丽的谦卑和温柔的人,必承受地土。”[33]当代报告描述一个人的行为变得越来越怪异,包括睡觉全副武装在他的衣服,扯了一幅画在一个轻微的批评,并嘲笑当地画家。

卡拉瓦乔在他职业生涯的早期显示奇怪的行为。曼奇尼将他描述为“非常疯狂”,一封德尔蒙特指出他的陌生感,马里奥Minniti 1724年的传记作家说,马里奥离开卡拉瓦乔,因为他的行为。陌生后似乎增加了马耳他。Susinno的18世纪早期Le轻快地de pittori Messinesi,“墨西拿的画家的生活”,提供了一些五颜六色的轶事卡拉瓦乔的古怪行为在西西里,这些是复制在现代长篇传记如兰登和罗伯。Bellori写道卡拉瓦乔的“恐惧”使他从城市穿过岛最后,“感觉,它不再是安全的继续”,那不勒斯。Baglione说卡拉瓦乔被“追着他的敌人”,但就像Bellori没有说这个敌人是谁。

 

莎乐美与施洗约翰的头.

 

大卫与歌利亚,1609 - 1610,波勒兹广场,罗马.

只有9个月后在西西里,卡拉瓦乔回到那不勒斯。根据他最早的传记作家,他被敌人在西西里岛和追求觉得安全的地方自己报摊,直到他能安全的保护下从教皇(现在他的原谅保罗五世)和返回罗马。[34]在那不勒斯他画彼得的否认,最后一个施洗约翰(波)和他的最后一张照片圣厄休拉的殉难他的风格继续进化圣厄休拉是陷入了片刻的最高行动和戏剧,箭发射的国王吗匈奴人早些时候袭击她的乳房,不像绘画构成模型的所有不动。更自由更印象派绘画。

在那不勒斯的企图了,未知的人。起初,据报道在罗马著名的艺术家“卡拉瓦乔死了,但后来知道他还活着,但严重毁容的脸。他画了一个莎乐美与施洗约翰的头(马德里),显示自己的头盘,和寄给德Wignacourt恳求宽恕。也许这个时候他也画一个大卫与歌利亚的头,显示了年轻的大卫带着奇怪的是悲伤的表情盯着头颅的巨人,这是卡拉瓦乔的。这幅画他可能发送到他的赞助人肆无忌惮的红衣主教不禁Scipione鲍格才家族教皇的侄子,他的权力授予或拒绝赦免。[35]

1610年夏天,他带一艘船向北去获得原谅,这似乎即将多亏了他强大的罗马的朋友。和他三个去年画,给红衣主教Scipione的礼物。[36]接下来发生的事情是混乱和猜测的主题。最基本的事实是,7月28日匿名avviso(私人通讯)从罗马到乌尔比诺公爵的法院报道,卡拉瓦乔已经死了。三天之后另一个avviso说他死于发烧从那不勒斯到罗马的路上。艺术家的一位诗人朋友后来将死亡日期,7月18日和最近研究人员声称已经发现了死亡通知显示,艺术家在那一天死于发烧波尔图Ercole附近的格罗托斯卡纳发现的人类遗骸在教堂于2010年在波尔图Ercole被认为几乎可以肯定属于卡拉瓦乔[37]结果经过长达一年的调查使用DNA,碳约会和其他分析。[38]

一些学者认为,卡拉瓦乔被相同的“敌人”,一直在追求他因为他逃离了马耳他,可能Wignacourt和/或派系的约翰的顺序.[39]卡拉瓦乔可能死于铅中毒骨铅含量高最近被发现严重的可能是卡拉瓦乔的。[40]油漆时使用含有大量的铅盐。卡拉瓦乔是曾沉溺于暴力行为,如铅中毒所致。

 

“情妇”的肖像{ Fillide Melaandroni }

 

神圣的爱与世俗之爱》由Giovanni Baglione(1602 - 03)。作为攻击他痛恨的敌人画家卡拉瓦乔,它显示了一个男孩(暗示所谓卡拉瓦乔的同性恋)一方面,与卡拉瓦乔的脸,魔鬼和天使之间代表纯洁,备忘录,爱。

 

男孩用一篮子水果,1593 - 1594。油画,67厘米×53厘米(26×21)。波勒兹广场,罗马.

卡拉瓦乔从未结婚,没有孩子,和霍华德希巴德指出没有色情女艺术家的作品的数据:“在他的整个职业生涯,他不画一个女性裸体。”[41]另一方面,从德尔蒙特cabinet-pieces时期是充满“full-lipped,怠惰的男孩…他们似乎征求的旁观者提供水果,酒,鲜花,和他们自己。”[42]然而,与一个特定的莉娜被Pasqualone提到1605年在法庭上沉积,在那里她被描述为“米开朗基罗的女孩”。[43]根据G.B.Passeri这种“莉娜”麦当娜住迪洛雷托是卡拉瓦乔的模型。据凯瑟琳Puglisi“莉娜”可能是一样的妓女Maddalena di Paolo Antognetti名叫卡拉瓦乔是一个亲密的朋友,她在1604年的证词。[44][45]卡拉瓦乔也可能密切关系等“婊子和妓女”Fillide Melandroni,其中他画一幅肖像。[46]

自1970年代以来艺术学者和历史学家讨论的推论同性恋卡拉瓦乔的作品。[47]“爱战胜一切”的模型被称为Cecco迪卡拉瓦乔Cecco陪他即使他于1606年被迫离开罗马,和两个可能是恋人。”[48]

除了绘画之外,证据也来自于诽谤一起针对卡拉瓦乔的审判尼Baglione在1603年。Baglione指责卡拉瓦乔和他的朋友编写和分发下流的打油诗攻击他,小册子,据Baglione的朋友和见证毛泽东Salini,被某个Giovanni Battista,分布式bardassa,或男孩妓女,共享卡拉瓦乔和他的朋友Onorio Longhi。卡拉瓦乔否认知道任何男孩的名字,这一指控并没有跟进。[49]Baglione绘画的“神圣之爱”也被视为一个视觉指控针对卡拉瓦乔的鸡奸。[46]诸如鸡奸指控是有害和危险是死罪。尽管政府不太可能调查这样一个出身名门的人,卡拉瓦乔:“一旦一个艺术家已经抹鸡奸者,他的工作上。”[48]Francesco Susinoo后来在他的传记中讲述的故事如何艺术家追逐了中学或小学校长在西西里花了长时间盯着男孩在他的关心。梅花伞业提出了它作为一个误解,但卡拉瓦乔确实一直在寻求性安慰;这一事件可解释他最同性恋的一幅画:他最后描绘圣施洗约翰[50]

艺术历史学家安德鲁Graham-Dixon总结了辩论:

很多取得了卡拉瓦乔的认为同性恋,先前已在多个账户的介绍作为单一键来解释一切,他的艺术和他的生活的不幸。没有绝对的证明,只有强大的间接证据和谣言。平衡的概率表明,卡拉瓦乔确实与男性发生性关系。但他肯定女性爱好者。这些年来,他在罗马公司保持着密切的妓女。事实是,卡拉瓦乔是不安的关系,他是在生活的其他方面。他可能与男人同睡。他和女人睡觉。他没有一个……(但),他是一个早期的烈士的驱动器非传统的性是一个落伍的小说。[48]

English Introduction

Biography

Early life (1571–1592)

Caravaggio (Michelangelo Merisi or Amerighi) was born in Milan where his father, Fermo (Fermo Merixio), was a household administrator and architect-decorator to the Marchese of Caravaggio, a town not far from the city of Bergamo.[10] His mother, Lucia Aratori (Lutia de Oratoribus), came from a propertied family of the same district.[11] In 1576 the family moved to Caravaggio (Caravaggius) to escape a plague which ravaged Milan, and Caravaggio's father died there in 1577.[12] It is assumed that the artist grew up in Caravaggio, but his family kept up connections with the Sforzas and with the powerfulColonna family, who were allied by marriage with the Sforzas and destined to play a major role later in Caravaggio's life.

Caravaggio's mother died in 1584, the same year he began his four-year apprenticeship to the Milanese painter Simone Peterzano, described in the contract of apprenticeship as a pupil of Titian. Caravaggio appears to have stayed in the Milan-Caravaggio area after his apprenticeship ended, but it is possible that he visited Venice and saw the works of Giorgione, whom Federico Zuccari later accused him of imitating, and Titian.[13] He would also have become familiar with the art treasures of Milan, including Leonardo da Vinci's Last Supper, and with the regional Lombard art, a style which valued simplicity and attention to naturalistic detail and was closer to the naturalism of Germany than to the stylised formality and grandeur of Roman Mannerism.[14]

Rome (1592/95–1600)

Caravaggio left Milan for Rome in 1592, in flight after "certain quarrels" and the wounding of a police officer. He arrived in Rome "naked and extremely needy ... without fixed address and without provision ... short of money."[15] A few months later he was performing hack-work for the highly successful Giuseppe Cesari, Pope Clement VIII's favourite artist, "painting flowers and fruit"[16] in his factory-like workshop. Known works from this period include a small Boy Peeling a Fruit (his earliest known painting), a Boy with a Basket of Fruit, and the Young Sick Bacchus, supposedly a self-portrait done during convalescence from a serious illness that ended his employment with Cesari. All three demonstrate the physical particularity for which Caravaggio was to become renowned: the fruit-basket-boy's produce has been analysed by a professor of horticulture, who was able to identify individual cultivars right down to "... a large fig leaf with a prominent fungal scorch lesion resembling anthracnose (Glomerella cingulata)."[17]

Caravaggio left Cesari, determined to make his own way. At this point he forged some extremely important friendships, with the painter Prospero Orsi, the architect Onorio Longhi, and the sixteen-year-old Sicilian artist Mario Minniti. Orsi, established in the profession, introduced him to influential collectors; Longhi, more balefully, introduced him to the world of Roman street-brawls; and Minniti served as a model and, years later, would be instrumental in helping Caravaggio to important commissions in Sicily.[18]

The Fortune Teller, his first composition with more than one figure, shows Mario being cheated by a gypsy girl. The theme was quite new for Rome, and proved immensely influential over the next century and beyond. This, however, was in the future: at the time, Caravaggio sold it for practically nothing. The Cardsharps – showing another naïve youth of privilege falling the victim of card cheats – is even more psychologically complex, and perhaps Caravaggio's first true masterpiece. Like theFortune Teller, it was immensely popular, and over 50 copies survive. More importantly, it attracted the patronage ofCardinal Francesco Maria del Monte, one of the leading connoisseurs in Rome. For Del Monte and his wealthy art-loving circle, Caravaggio executed a number of intimate chamber-pieces – The Musicians, The Lute Player, a tipsy Bacchus, an allegorical but realistic Boy Bitten by a Lizard – featuring Minniti and other adolescent models.

The realism returned with Caravaggio's first paintings on religious themes, and the emergence of remarkable spirituality. The first of these was the Penitent Magdalene, showing Mary Magdalene at the moment when she has turned from her life as a courtesan and sits weeping on the floor, her jewels scattered around her. "It seemed not a religious painting at all ... a girl sitting on a low wooden stool drying her hair ... Where was the repentance ... suffering ... promise of salvation?"[19]

It was understated, in the Lombard manner, not histrionic in the Roman manner of the time. It was followed by others in the same style: Saint Catherine; Martha and Mary Magdalene; Judith Beheading Holofernes; a Sacrifice of Isaac; a Saint Francis of Assisi in Ecstasy; and a Rest on the Flight into Egypt. The works, while viewed by a comparatively limited circle, increased Caravaggio's fame with both connoisseurs and his fellow artists. But a true reputation would depend on public commissions, and for these it was necessary to look to the Church.

Already evident was the intense realism or naturalism for which Caravaggio is now famous. He preferred to paint his subjects as the eye sees them, with all their natural flaws and defects instead of as idealised creations. This allowed a full display of Caravaggio's virtuosic talents. This shift from accepted standard practice and the classical idealism ofMichelangelo was very controversial at the time. Not only was his realism a noteworthy feature of his paintings during this period, he turned away from the lengthy preparations traditional in central Italy at the time. Instead, he preferred the Venetian practice of working in oils directly from the subject – half-length figures and still life. One of the characteristic paintings by Caravaggio at this time which gives a good demonstration of his virtuoso talent was his workSupper at Emmaus from c. 1600–1601.

"Most famous painter in Rome" (1600–1606)

In 1599, presumably through the influence of Del Monte, Caravaggio was contracted to decorate the Contarelli Chapel in the church of San Luigi dei Francesi. The two works making up the commission, the Martyrdom of Saint Matthew and Calling of Saint Matthew, delivered in 1600, were an immediate sensation. Caravaggio's tenebrism (a heightenedchiaroscuro) brought high drama to his subjects, while his acutely observed realism brought a new level of emotional intensity. Opinion among Caravaggio's artist peers was polarized. Some denounced him for various perceived failings, notably his insistence on painting from life, without drawings, but for the most part he was hailed as a great artistic visionary: "The painters then in Rome were greatly taken by this novelty, and the young ones particularly gathered around him, praised him as the unique imitator of nature, and looked on his work as miracles."[20]

Caravaggio went on to secure a string of prestigious commissions for religious works featuring violent struggles, grotesque decapitations, torture and death, most notable and most technically masterful among them The Taking of Christ of circa 1602 for the Mattei Family, recently rediscovered in Ireland after two centuries. For the most part each new painting increased his fame, but a few were rejected by the various bodies for whom they were intended, at least in their original forms, and had to be re-painted or find new buyers. The essence of the problem was that while Caravaggio's dramatic intensity was appreciated, his realism was seen by some as unacceptably vulgar.[21]

His first version of Saint Matthew and the Angel, featured the saint as a bald peasant with dirty legs attended by a lightly clad over-familiar boy-angel, was rejected and a second version had to be painted as The Inspiration of Saint Matthew. Similarly, The Conversion of Saint Paul was rejected, and while another version of the same subject, the Conversion on the Way to Damascus, was accepted, it featured the saint's horse's haunches far more prominently than the saint himself, prompting this exchange between the artist and an exasperated official of Santa Maria del Popolo: "Why have you put a horse in the middle, and Saint Paul on the ground?" "Because!" "Is the horse God?" "No, but he stands in God's light!"[22]

Other works included Entombment, the Madonna di Loreto (Madonna of the Pilgrims), the Grooms' Madonna, and the Death of the Virgin. The history of these last two paintings illustrates the reception given to some of Caravaggio's art, and the times in which he lived. The Grooms' Madonna, also known as Madonna dei palafrenieri, painted for a small altar in Saint Peter's Basilica in Rome, remained there for just two days, and was then taken off. A cardinal's secretary wrote: "In this painting there are but vulgarity, sacrilege, impiousness and disgust...One would say it is a work made by a painter that can paint well, but of a dark spirit, and who has been for a lot of time far from God, from His adoration, and from any good thought..." The Death of the Virgin, then, commissioned in 1601 by a wealthy jurist for his private chapel in the new Carmelite church of Santa Maria della Scala, was rejected by the Carmelites in 1606. Caravaggio's contemporary Giulio Mancini records that it was rejected because Caravaggio had used a well-known prostitute as his model for the Virgin.[23]

Giovanni Baglione, another contemporary, tells us it was due to Mary's bare legs[24] —a matter of decorum in either case. Caravaggio scholar John Gash suggests that the problem for the Carmelites may have been theological rather than aesthetic, in that Caravaggio's version fails to assert the doctrine of the Assumption of Mary, the idea that the Mother of God did not die in any ordinary sense but was assumed into Heaven.[citation needed] The replacement altarpiece commissioned (from one of Caravaggio's most able followers,Carlo Saraceni), showed the Virgin not dead, as Caravaggio had painted her, but seated and dying; and even this was rejected, and replaced with a work which showed the Virgin not dying, but ascending into Heaven with choirs of angels. In any case, the rejection did not mean that Caravaggio or his paintings were out of favour. The Death of the Virgin was no sooner taken out of the church than it was purchased by the Duke of Mantua, on the advice of Rubens, and later acquired byCharles I of England before entering the French royal collection in 1671.

One secular piece from these years is Amor Victorious, painted in 1602 for Vincenzo Giustiniani, a member of Del Monte's circle. The model was named in a memoir of the early 17th century as "Cecco", the diminutive for Francesco. He is possibly Francesco Boneri, identified with an artist active in the period 1610–1625 and known as Cecco del Caravaggio ('Caravaggio's Cecco'),[25] carrying a bow and arrows and trampling symbols of the warlike and peaceful arts and sciences underfoot. He is unclothed, and it is difficult to accept this grinning urchin as the Roman god Cupid – as difficult as it was to accept Caravaggio's other semi-clad adolescents as the various angels he painted in his canvases, wearing much the same stage-prop wings. The point, however, is the intense yet ambiguous reality of the work: it is simultaneously Cupid and Cecco, as Caravaggio's Virgins were simultaneously the Mother of Christ and the Roman courtesans who modeled for them.

Exile and death (1606–1610)

Caravaggio led a tumultuous life. He was notorious for brawling, even in a time and place when such behavior was commonplace, and the transcripts of his police records and trial proceedings fill several pages. On 29 May 1606, he killed, possibly unintentionally, a young man named Ranuccio Tomassoni from Terni (Umbria). The circumstances of the brawl and the death of Ranuccio Tomassoni remain mysterious. Several contemporary avvisi referred to a quarrel over a gambling debt and a tennis game, and this explanation has become established in the popular imagination.[26] But recent scholarship has made it clear that more was involved. Good modern accounts are to be found in Peter Robb's M and Helen Langdon's Caravaggio: A Life. An interesting theory relating the death to Renaissance notions of honour and symbolic wounding has been advanced by art historian Andrew Graham-Dixon.[27] Previously his high-placed patrons had protected him from the consequences of his escapades, but this time they could do nothing. Caravaggio, outlawed, fled to Naples. There, outside the jurisdiction of the Roman authorities and protected by the Colonna family, the most famous painter in Rome became the most famous in Naples. His connections with theColonnas led to a stream of important church commissions, including the Madonna of the Rosary, and The Seven Works of Mercy.[28]

Despite his success in Naples, after only a few months in the city Caravaggio left for Malta, the headquarters of theKnights of Malta, presumably hoping that the patronage of Alof de Wignacourt, Grand Master of the Knights, could help him secure a pardon for Tomassoni's death. De Wignacourt proved so impressed at having the famous artist as official painter to the Order that he inducted him as a knight, and the early biographer Bellori records that the artist was well pleased with his success. Major works from his Malta period include a huge Beheading of Saint John the Baptist (the only painting to which he put his signature) and a Portrait of Alof de Wignacourt and his Page, as well as portraits of other leading knights. Yet by late August 1608 he was arrested and imprisoned. The circumstances surrounding this abrupt change of fortune have long been a matter of speculation, but recent investigation has revealed it to have been the result of yet another brawl, during which the door of a house was battered down and a knight seriously wounded.[29] He was imprisoned by the knights and managed to escape. By December he had been expelled from the Order "as a foul and rotten member."[30]

A painting, tentatively dated between 1600 and 1610, and believed by some experts to be Caravaggio's second version ofJudith Beheading Holofernes was discovered in an attic in Toulouse in 2014. An export ban was placed on the painting by the French government while tests were carried out to establish its provenance.[31][32]

Caravaggio made his way to Sicily where he met his old friend Mario Minniti, who was now married and living in Syracuse. Together they set off on what amounted to a triumphal tour from Syracuse to Messina and, maybe, on to the island capital, Palermo. In Syracuse and Messina Caravaggio continued to win prestigious and well-paid commissions. Among other works from this period are Burial of St. Lucy, The Raising of Lazarus, and Adoration of the Shepherds. His style continued to evolve, showing now friezes of figures isolated against vast empty backgrounds. "His great Sicilian altarpieces isolate their shadowy, pitifully poor figures in vast areas of darkness; they suggest the desperate fears and frailty of man, and at the same time convey, with a new yet desolate tenderness, the beauty of humility and of the meek, who shall inherit the earth."[33] Contemporary reports depict a man whose behaviour was becoming increasingly bizarre, which included sleeping fully armed and in his clothes, ripping up a painting at a slight word of criticism, and mocking local painters.

Caravaggio displayed bizarre behaviour from very early in his career. Mancini describes him as "extremely crazy", a letter of Del Monte notes his strangeness, and Mario Minniti's 1724 biographer says that Mario left Caravaggio because of his behaviour. The strangeness seems to have increased after Malta. Susinno's early 18th century Le vite de' pittori Messinesi, "Lives of the Painters of Messina", provides several colourful anecdotes of Caravaggio's erratic behaviour in Sicily, and these are reproduced in modern full-length biographies such as Langdon and Robb. Bellori writes of Caravaggio's "fear" driving him from city to city across the island and finally, "feeling that it was no longer safe to remain", to Naples. Baglione says Caravaggio was being "chased by his enemy", but like Bellori does not say whom this enemy was.

After only nine months in Sicily, Caravaggio returned to Naples. According to his earliest biographer he was being pursued by enemies while in Sicily and felt it safest to place himself under the protection of the Colonnas until he could secure his pardon from the pope (now Paul V) and return to Rome.[34] In Naples he painted The Denial of Saint Peter, a final John the Baptist (Borghese), and his last picture, The Martyrdom of Saint Ursula. His style continued to evolve — Saint Ursula is caught in a moment of highest action and drama, as the arrow fired by the king of the Huns strikes her in the breast, unlike earlier paintings which had all the immobility of the posed models. The brushwork was much freer and more impressionistic.

In Naples an attempt was made on his life, by persons unknown. At first it was reported in Rome that the "famous artist" Caravaggio was dead, but then it was learned that he was alive, but seriously disfigured in the face. He painted a Salome with the Head of John the Baptist (Madrid), showing his own head on a platter, and sent it to de Wignacourt as a plea for forgiveness. Perhaps at this time he painted also a David with the Head of Goliath, showing the young David with a strangely sorrowful expression gazing on the severed head of the giant, which is again Caravaggio's. This painting he may have sent to his patron the unscrupulous art-loving Cardinal Scipione Borghese, nephew of the pope, who had the power to grant or withhold pardons.[35]

In the summer of 1610 he took a boat northwards to receive the pardon, which seemed imminent thanks to his powerful Roman friends. With him were three last paintings, gifts for Cardinal Scipione.[36] What happened next is the subject of much confusion and conjecture. The bare facts are that on 28 July an anonymous avviso (private newsletter) from Rome to the ducal court of Urbino reported that Caravaggio was dead. Three days later another avviso said that he had died of fever on his way from Naples to Rome. A poet friend of the artist later gave 18 July as the date of death, and a recent researcher claims to have discovered a death notice showing that the artist died on that day of a fever in Porto Ercole, near Grosseto in Tuscany. Human remains found in a church in Porto Ercole in 2010 are believed to almost certainly belong to Caravaggio.[37] The findings come after a year-long investigation using DNA, carbon dating and other analyses.[38]

Some scholars argue that Caravaggio was murdered by the same "enemies" that had been pursuing him since he fled Malta, possibly Wignacourt and/or factions in the Order of St. John.[39] Caravaggio might have died of lead poisoning. Bones with high lead levels were recently found in a grave likely to be Caravaggio's.[40] Paints used at the time contained high amounts of lead salts. Caravaggio is known to have indulged in violent behavior, as caused by lead poisoning.

Sexuality

Caravaggio never married and had no known children, and Howard Hibbard notes the absence of erotic female figures from the artist's oeuvre: "In his entire career he did not paint a single female nude."[41] On the other hand, the cabinet-pieces from the Del Monte period are replete with "full-lipped, languorous boys ... who seem to solicit the onlooker with their offers of fruit, wine, flowers - and themselves."[42] Nevertheless, a connection with a certain Lena is mentioned in a 1605 court deposition by Pasqualone, where she is described as "Michelangelo's girl".[43] According to G.B.Passeri this 'Lena' was Caravaggio's model for the Madonna di Loreto. According to Catherine Puglisi 'Lena' may have been the same as the courtesan Maddalena di Paolo Antognetti, who named Caravaggio as anintimate friend by her own testimony in 1604.[44][45] Caravaggio also probably enjoyed close relationships with other "whores and courtesans" such as Fillide Melandroni, of whom he painted a portrait.[46]

Since the 1970s art scholars and historians have debated the inferences of homoeroticismin Caravaggio's works.[47] The model of "Amor vincit omnia" is known as Cecco di Caravaggio. Cecco stayed with him even after he was obliged to leave Rome in 1606, and the two may have been lovers."[48]

Aside from the paintings, evidence also comes from the libel trial brought against Caravaggio by Giovanni Baglione in 1603. Baglione accused Caravaggio and his friends of writing and distributing scurrilous doggerel attacking him; the pamphlets, according to Baglione's friend and witness Mao Salini, had been distributed by a certain Giovanni Battista, a bardassa, or boy prostitute, shared by Caravaggio and his friend Onorio Longhi. Caravaggio denied knowing any young boy of that name, and the allegation was not followed up.[49] Baglione's painting of "Divine Love" has also been seen as a visual accusation of sodomy against Caravaggio.[46] Such accusations were damaging and dangerous as sodomy was a capital crime at the time. Even though the authorities were unlikely to investigate such a well-connected person as Caravaggio: "Once an artist had been smeared as a pederast, his work was smeared too."[48] Francesco Susinoo in his later biography relates the story of how the artist was chased by a school-master in Sicily for spending too long gazing at the boys in his care. Susino presents it as a misunderstanding, but Caravaggio may indeed have been seeking sexual solace; and the incident could explain one of his most homoerotic paintings: his last depiction of St John the Baptist.[50]

The art historian, Andrew Graham-Dixon has summarised the debate:

A lot has been made of Caravaggio's presumed homosexuality, which has in more than one previous account of his life been presented as the single key that explains everything, both the power of his art and the misfortunes of his life. There is no absolute proof of it, only strong circumstantial evidence and much rumour. The balance of probability suggests that Caravaggio did indeed have sexual relations with men. But he certainly had female lovers. Throughout the years that he spent in Rome he kept close company with a number of prostitutes. The truth is that Caravaggio was as uneasy in his relationships as he was in most other aspects of life. He likely slept with men. He did sleep with women. He settled with no one... [but] the idea that he was an early martyr to the drives of an unconventional sexuality is an anachronistic fiction.[48]

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