The Violence Of Caravaggio Essay

1916 words - 8 pages

The Violence of CaravaggioCaravaggio is considered to be one of the greatest artists of all time; his style was one of a kind, especially compared to the art in Italy. His method of painting was one of a kind, and a great reason for his popularity. He set the trend for future painters; he had many followers who took after him, but compared to the painters of his time, he was unique. He was a very different man, he looked at figures and stories in a completely different light (literally). His life was very short, as were many artists' lives in the early centuries, but still action-packed. He was born in a time of many of the great people we still know today. He ran from authorities much of the time and got into fights with all types of people. He had the type of attitude that no one liked, except his closest followers. I believe that his attitude affected his work. He went out with the intent to offend people and make himself feel like he was better than the next guy. He did that by pushing his paintings into an area where no one had ever gone. In the end, he was praised for it. He was an aggressive man and it shows through what we know of his life and this aggression is reflected in his compositions.Caravaggio was born in 1571, as Michelangelo Merisi. He was born seven years after the death of Michelangelo, who is considered to be "the last and greatest of the Italian Renaissance [painters]" (Robb 7). He was also born twenty-one years before Montaigne, the first modern European writer. Caravaggio was born seven years after Marlowe and Shakespeare, Marlowe being the man who invented modern drama and Shakespeare being, arguably, the greatest play-write of all time. Even the great Galileo, "who made the solar system undeniable and the churches world view irrelevant," was born seven years before Caravaggio (Robb 7). Shakespeare and Galileo both outlived Caravaggio. He was born in great company and was bound to be great himself. He lived in a time when Rome had the "greatest number of murder cases (18)" and "the greatest number of prosecutions for assault and theft" (Varriano). The lack of authority was no mistake; it can be credited to the death of two Popes in that year (Varriano). This sent the city into "temporary chaos" (Varriano). Despite the fact that he was constantly getting into fights and fleeing the authorities, he was no doubt great at what he did in his studio. A news article in 1601 said, "[Caravaggio] was overly passionate and a bit wild. He sometimes looked to get his own neck broken or put someone else's life at risk" (Robb 8). He was very well known for being aggressive. Caravaggio and his young crew were notorious for running the streets, they lived by the saying, 'nec spe nec metu,' which means 'without hope or fear.' He and his crowd w26ould wander around the tennis courts getting into disputes and muttering insults to anyone who walked by. They looked for fights. Caravaggio would talk himself into a fight and then his gang would...

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