10 December 2009
The Villian Genius
"Michelangelo Merisi left his birth town of Caravaggio in the north of Italy to study as an apprentice in nearby Milan. In 1593 he moved to Rome, impatient to use his talents on the biggest stage possible.
Caravaggio's approach to painting was unconventional. He avoided the standard method of making copies of old sculptures and instead took the more direct approach of painting directly onto canvas without drawing first. He also used people from the street as his models. His dramatic painting was enhanced with intense and theatrical lighting.
Caravaggio's fate was sealed when in 1606 he killed a man in a duel. He fled to Naples where he attempted to paint his way out of trouble, he became a Knight, but was then imprisoned in Malta and then finally he moved to Sicily. He was pardoned for murder in 1610, but he died of a fever attempting to return to Rome."
Read the rest here. Simon Schama's BBC documentary, The Power of Art, is fascinating.