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Michelangelo Caravaggio Wall Art

Michelangelo Caravaggio (1571 - 1592) was born in Milan. His mother, Lucia Aratori, came from a family in the same district, while his father, Fermo Merisi, was a household architect-decorator and administrator to the Marchese of Caravaggio. The family moved to Caravaggio to escape a plague which ravaged Milan in 1576. In 1584, Caravaggio was apprenticed to the Lombard painter Simone Peterzano for 4 years. He stayed in the Milan/Caravaggio area after his apprenticeship ended, but he visited Venice and saw the works of Giorgione, whom he was later accused of imitating by Federico Zuccaro. He also became familiar with the regional Lombard art, and with the art treasures of Milan, including Leonardo da Vinci's Last Supper, and a style which valued attention and simplicity to naturalistic detail. Caravaggio was closer to the naturalism of Germany than to the grandeur and stylized formality of Roman Mannerism. In mid-1592 after "certain quarrels" and the wounding of a police officer, Caravaggio fled to Rome, where he arrived without provision and without fixed address. He was naked and extremely needy and short of money. After a few months, he started performing hack-work for Giuseppe Cesari who was Pope Clement VIII's favorite painter. Caravaggio painted fruits and flowers in his factory-like workshop.

During this period he did paintings of a Boy with a Basket of Fruit, a small Boy Peeling a Fruit, and the Young Sick Bacchus. The latter must have been his self-portrait he did during convalescence from a serious illness. Determined to make his own way, Caravaggio left Cesari in January 1594. In 1599, he was contracted to decorate the Contarelli Chapel in the church of San Luigi dei Francesi. Caravaggio preferred to paint his subjects the way they appeared, with all their natural defects and flaws instead of as idealized creations.
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