Michelangelo Merisi was born in Caravaggio, Italy in 1573. He grew up to be known by the name of his birthplace, Caravaggio, and as an artist. He was probably the most revolutionary artist of his time, breaking the rules of previous artists. Carvaggio had spent his childhood in the presence of art, living with a painter for four years before moving to Rome to work as an assistant to other painters. In about 1595, he began to sell his paintings through a dealer, who brought him to the attention of the Cardinal.
At the age of 24, he was called upon by the Cardinal Francesco del Monte to paint for a church. He was criticized a lot for the realistic and dramatic nature of his works. Despite the criticism, he was a recognized, and eventually envied painter. While in Rome, he was imprisoned for several assaults. He fled the city and eventually ended up in Naples in about 1607. Here, he painted for a while. During this period, his paintings were dark and urgent, reflecting his feelings at the time. He left and continued to stay undercover for two more years before being arrested and dying not long thereafter. During this period, however, his paintings were among the best of his career. Caravaggio's Death of the Virgin was painted in 1605-1606, in France, probably on his run to Naples.
The Death of the Virgin requires some background information to fully understand the meaning of the painting. The Virgin Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ has a special place of devotion especially in the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches and is considered a historical work, to these and other religions. Caravaggio was not influenced much by other painters. He was making up his own style of painting. A critic of the age, Giovanni Pietro Bellori wrote: "Caravaggio deserves great praise, as he was the only one who attempted to imitate the nature as opposed to the general trend in which painters imitated other painters." Another... [continues]
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