Caravaggio. I. Michel Angelo Amcrighi Da, an Italian painter, born at Caravaggio in 1569, died near Porto Ercole in 1609. His father was a mason. He himself in his boyhood was a paint grinder for artists in Milan. These artists awakened his genius and love for art, and he made his way to Venice, where he studied the works of Giorgione, whom he imitated in his earlier style. Leaving Venice, he went to Rome and engaged himself to a trading artist, for whom he painted chiefly flower and fruit pieces. Soon wearying of this, he adopted a peculiar style of his own, of which he was the chief master. His life was wild and vagrant. Having killed a companion in a brawl at Rome, he fled to Naples, and .thence to Malta, where he was knighted. Another quarrel with a person of rank caused him to be thrown into prison. Contriving to escape, he fled to Sicily, but was pursued, assaulted by armed men, and seriously wounded. His friends having procured the pope's pardon for his first crime, he returned to Italy, but on landing at Porto Ercole in Tuscany was arrested by mistake, lost his money and clothes, suffered from inflammation in his unhealed wounds, from heat, anxiety, and exhaustion, and sat down and died near that place, on his way to Rome. He was 40 years old. His pictures treat of vulgar and often repulsive themes.
His imagination was coarse, his temper gloomy and passionate. But his paintings, however gross in conception, display grandeur, power, and pathos. Anni-bale Carracci said of Caravaggio that "he ground flesh," not pigments. Some of his sacred pieces were so offensive that they were removed from the altars they occupied. Cara-vaggio's most celebrated work is an "Entombment of Christ" in the Vatican. A " St. Sebastian " in the capitol at Rome, and a " Supper at Emmaus" in the palazzo Borghese, are among his masterpieces. A " Holy Family," in the same palace, has been much admired. II. Polidoro Caldara da, an Italian painter, born at Caravaggio in 1495, murdered at Messina in 1543. Of humble parentage, he found employment in Rome as a workman for the artists who were engaged in copying the paintings of Raphael; and attracting the attention of that master by his talent, he became his most distinguished disciple, as attested by his friezes and other ornaments for Raphael's paintings in the Vatican, which acquired celebrity as exquisite imitations of Athenian purity and perfection.
He was the first of the Roman masters to employ chiaroscuro in the management of masses of light and shadow, and he and his friend Maturino were extensively engaged in embellishing the exteriors of the principal palaces and houses with paintings of illustrious masters, in the sgraffito style. In 1527, when Rome was sacked by the imperialists, he fled to Naples, where Andrea da Salerno procured employment for him; and subsequently he designed at Messina the triumphal arches erected on occasion of the return of Charles V. from Tunis, and executed in the same city his masterpiece, representing Christ bearing the cross. He was about to return to Rome when he was murdered and robbed by his Sicilian servant. His principal paintings are in Rome, Naples, and Messina.