Caravaggio’s Mystery

On this Day in 1571 Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio was born in Milano. It was a true genius of the Baroque epoch, whose canvases amazed, exasperated and captivated his contemporaries and following generations. The artist’s birthday is a good reason to know more about his life, isn’t it? So go here to read Caravaggio’s biography.

Caravaggio struck the people of his time with utmost realism and vigorousness of the style. He chose the subject of the extreme tension, amplified by dramatic chiaroscuro effect – you can convince in it looking at the expressive fragments from his paintings. However, it’s not only his visual language that makes him so peculiar. Art historian Roberta Lapucci claims Caravaggio treated the canvas with light-sensitive substances, including a luminescent powder made from crushed fireflies, in order to “fix” the image as 19th century photographers later would. He then used white lead mixed with chemicals such as mercury, to outline the image in greater clarity, she believes. Indeed, he was a true research of painting technique and human feelings!

 

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