"ROME — By at least one amusing new metric, Michelangelo’s unofficial 500-year run at the top of the Italian art charts has ended. Caravaggio, who somehow found time to paint when he wasn’t brawling, scandalizing pooh-bahs, chasing women (and men), murdering a tennis opponent with a dagger to the groin, fleeing police assassins or getting his face mutilated by one of his many enemies, has bumped him from his perch."...
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... "Caravaggio, on the other hand, exemplifies the modern antihero, a hyperrealist whose art is instantly accessible. His doe-eyed, tousle-haired boys with puffy lips and bubble buttocks look as if they’ve just tumbled out of bed, not descended from heaven. Coarse not godly, locked into dark, ambiguous spaces by a strict geometry then picked out of deep shadow by an oracular light, his models come straight off the street. Cupid is clearly a hired urchin on whom Caravaggio strapped a pair of fake wings. The angel in his “Annunciation” dangles like Chaplin’s tramp on the high wire in “The Circus,” from what must have been a rope contraption Caravaggio devised."
David with the head of Goliath
(the goliath depicted in this painting is in fact Caravaggio himself)
Martyrdom of St. Matthew
Death of a Virgin
Caravaggio's epitaph was composed by his friend Marzio Milesi. It reads:
"Michelangelo Merisi, son of Fermo di Caravaggio - in painting not equal to a painter, but to Nature itself - died in Port' Ercole - betaking himself hither from Naples - returning to Rome - 15th calend of August - In the year of our Lord 1610 - He lived thirty-six years nine months and twenty days - Marzio Milesi, Jurisconsult - Dedicated this to a friend of extraordinary genius."