The Artist Birthday Series

Caravaggio

The remains of the great painter may help us understand why he was habitually violent.
The remains of the great painter may help us understand why he was habitually violent.

Famous while he lived, Caravaggio was forgotten almost immediately after his death, and it was only in the 20th century that his importance to the development of Western art was rediscovered. Despite this, his influence on the new Baroque style that eventually emerged from the ruins of Mannerism was profound. It can be seen directly or indirectly in the work of Rubens, Bernini, and Rembrandt, and artists in the following generation heavily under his influence were called the “Caravaggisti” or “Caravagesques”, as well as tenebrists or tenebrosi (“shadowists”). The 20th-century art historian AndrΓ© Berne-Joffroy claimed: “What begins in the work of Caravaggio is, quite simply, modern painting.”

"Sleeping Cupid," 1608
“Sleeping Cupid,” 1608

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