Caravaggio (1571-1610), an Italian painter, is considered one of the most important representatives of the Baroque style. His works are characterized by the use of strong contrasts between light and dark (chiaroscuro) to create a sense of drama. Many of his paintings were controversial at the time they were first displayed, but have since become some of the most highly regarded and influential works in Western art.
Caravaggio’s early biographers were quick to emphasize his ‘rough’ and ‘turbulent’ character, in keeping with the stereotype of the artist as a rebellious individualist. He certainly lived up to this reputation; he was frequently involved in fights and brawls, and was once even jailed for his role in a street brawl. But there was another side to Caravaggio as well; he was a devout Catholic, and his religious paintings are some of the most moving and powerful works of art ever created.
Despite (or perhaps because of) his turbulent life, Caravaggio was an immensely talented and original artist. His use of light and shadow to create a sense of drama was unlike anything that had been seen before, and his religious paintings are among the most moving and powerful ever created. Today, four centuries after his death, Caravaggio remains one of the most popular and influential artists in the Western world.