By Gilles Néret
Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio (1571–1610) was always a name to be reckoned with. Notorious bad boy of the Italian Baroque, the artist was at once celebrated and controversial, violent in temper, precise in technique, a creative master, and a man on the run.
Though famed for his dramatic use of color, light, and shadow, it was above all Caravaggio’s boundary-breaking naturalism which scorched his name into the annals of art history. From the dirtied soles of feet to the sexualized languor of bare flesh, the artist allowed even sacred and biblical scenes to unfold with a startling, often visceral humanity. This vivid pictorial world was accompanied by an equally intense personal biography, scored by gambling, debts, drunken brawls, and even a murder charge.
This book brings together more than 50 of Caravaggio’s most famous and revolutionary works to explore how and why this artist is now considered the most important painter of the early Baroque period and one of the defining influences of art history, without whom Ribera, Vermeer, Rembrandt, Delacroix, Courbet, and Manet could never have painted the way they did.
Each book in Taschen’s Basic Art series features a detailed chronological summary of the life and oeuvre of the artist, covering his or her cultural and historical importance, a concise biography, and approximately 100 illustrations with explanatory captions.
Hardcover with jacket, 96 pages
Dimensions: 8.5 x 10.5 x 0.5 inches
“All works, no matter what or by whom painted, are nothing but childish trifles unless they are made and painted from life.” — Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio
Martha and Mary Magdalene, c. 1598 by Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio is in the collection of the Detroit Institute of Arts.