Michelangelo Merisi Caravaggio Analysis

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Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio, who was a famous artist in Baroque period. His life just liked his artworks which were full of dramatic and mysterious. The life of Caravaggio can be divided into 3 periods – the early life and training period 1571-1592, Rome period 1592-1600 and the late period 1600-1610. In this essay, I would like to discuss about the late period (1600-1610) on Caravaggio through his artworks by the elements of light and violence, and the influence to the art world.

The early life of Caravaggio was quite pitiful. Not only his parents’ death when he was small, but also his poverty livelihood. When he was young, he had a 4-year apprenticeship with a minor Milanese master, Simone Peterzano. When he moved to Rome, his poverty
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Tenebrism – a style of using light and dark in the painting, which also called dramatic illumination. It was invented by Caravaggio since he was good in using the light to perform the atmosphere though the painting sharply. His painting style is mixing up with the science elements. He used the result of a little optical science of reflecting into a darkened room on his paintings. This invention elicited either love or hate in the public as not all the people would accept this painting style. On the other hands, Caravaggio would like to use the darkness to perform the picture background that makes the characters seem to be integrated with the murk and using the light for the drama effect which can make it looks like the spotlight to irradiate the characters of the picture. The reasons for using this painting skill, not only he wants to make the contrast in the space, but also there is a symbol of the light. In the past, people would like to draw Jesus into the picture. However, Caravaggio used the light to represent Jesus, which means Jesus is everywhere. Also, he would like to use light and dark to express the idea of good and evil, life and death. “The Calling of Saint Matthew” [fig. 1] is the most famous painting on the light contrast. The color of it is warm and in a sensuous tone, which is very natural. The light makes the picture into an…show more content…
The life of Caravaggio is very messy and unconventional as he always involved in brawls. Between 1595 and 1600, Caravaggio made a difference in his painting and lifestyle. He also was invited to have the painting projects for the churches. Most of his paintings, especially those with the religion topics were performed in a dark way. “David with the Head of Goliath” [fig. 4] can be said the most violence and horrify. It is because it performs the human destructiveness, loss, regret and grief by the character figure and face emotion. In the picture, David was holding the head of Goliath. It performed in a bloody way because Caravaggio wants to express his own personal feeling on his dark side and reflect his opinion on the contrast of life and death. The painting of “Judith and Holofernes” [fig. 5] and “Salome with the Head of John the Baptist” [fig. 6] also full of violence. “Judith and Holofernes” reflected the darkness of psychological through the female since she had had to call the servant prepared a bag for her plan. It shows out the malignity of women that they are full of calculation and good in deceit, which is a way to reduce the female image. “Salome with the Head of John the Baptist” had also been a bloody artwork. It showed the severed head in the painting which gave the audience a terrible and uncomfortable feeling. The other reasons of Caravaggio showed the horrible scene in the painting
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