Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio (1571–1610) is one of Italy’s most famous artists. Where can you find his works in Rome for free? Find out in my latest vlog. There is more information about Caravaggio and where to see him below the video.
Caravaggio is celebrated for a technique known as chiaroscuro where an artist creates the illusion of contrast between light and dark on the canvas. This could be taken as a metaphor for his life which went from moments of stunning brightness to those of the blackest darkness.
Born in Milan in 1571, Caravaggio moved to Rome at the age of twenty-one following a violent altercation with an officer of the law. He found employment in the workshop of the pope’s favourite artist and soon developed a reputation of his own. Within a few years his shocking realism and use of chiaroscuro had made him one of the most sought after artists in the city. But his tendency towards violence led to him being imprisoned and forced to flee Rome many times. In 1606, he killed a nobleman during a duel after which he fled to Naples. Caravaggio spent the rest of his life travelling and working in the south of Italy, Malta, and Sicily. He died in 1610.
His works in Italy can be found in the cities he frequented principally Naples, Sicily, and Rome. In the capital most of his works are in museums, such as the Villa Borghese, the Capitoline Museums, the Villa Ludovisi, the Palazzo Doria-Pamphilij, the Galleria Corsini, the Vatican Museums, the Museo Cappuccini, and the Palazzo Barberini. But there are four churches where some of his most stunning works can be seen for free. These are the Basilica of Sant’Agostino, the Church of San Luigi dei Francesi, and the Basilica of Santa Maria del Popolo.