Monday, 14 November 2016



Thanks for visiting.

The National Gallery in London currently has an exhibition called Beyond Caravaggio featuring the work of artists influenced by his work and although I haven't been, I'm going to share a few notes I've made about it from a local art class.

Caravaggio, or to give him his real name Michaelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio, was born in 1571 and lived in Caravaggio in the Lombardy region of Italy. He led a short, intense often violent life and became famous within his lifetime. He moved to Rome and began painting for Cardinals and the rich. He fled to Naples in 1606 after he killed a man before moving on again until his death in 1610.

The Taking of Christ - Caravaggio

His work is recognisable for its drama, almost theatrical light effects, natural unstylised models from the streets, closeness to the viewer, still life and portrayal of instant emotion. His subjects seem to emerge from the dark background with the use of light pointing to the focus of the painting. His first commissioned works were of mythological, musical and religious subjects.  Later he painted the daily life of working class people that he associated with from the taverns and was often involved in brawls.

Card Players - Caravaggio

His fame spread after his death with people viewing his work, copies were made and other artists, like Rubens, became interested in it.  Here's a list of some of his Followers that were inspired by his style and incorporated some of the same techniques in their own pictures.

Cecco di Caravaggio - assistant/model
Antiveduto Gramatica - one of his most important followers

Card Players - Antiveduto Grammatica
Bartolomeo Manfredi

The Taking of Christ - Bartolomeo Manfredi
Giovanni Baglione
Carlo Saraceni

Orazio and his daughter Artemisia Gentileschi
Giovanni Caracciolo
Jusepe de Ribera - born in Valencia, he worked for the Spanish Court in Italy

Naples was the most important city and port after Rome in the 17th Century so travellers would have seen Caravaggio's work and have taken the style back to their countries in Northern Europe.

Georges de la Tour

The Cheat with Ace of Diamonds - Georges de la Tour

Le Nain Brothers
Valentin de Boulogne - a similar character to Caravaggio

North Europe
Hendrick Ter Bruggen
Gerrit van Honthorst
Dirck van Baburen (Vermeer's mother in law collected this artist's work)

Somehow the immediacy of Caravaggio wins every time.

Coincidentally, on IPlayer there's a programme on the development of still life which features his basket of fruit .

I'm linking this post to Barbara's Paint Monthly link-up.



  1. Great post, always good to appreciate the history behind culture

    1. Glad you enjoyed it, I've found it so interesting hearing the stories behind these artists.

  2. Another fabulous post for paint monthly. Many thanks Karen. I have certainly learnt a lot by reading your post and I'm off to watch that programme, it sounds fascinating. I think I prefer his everyday scenes best. B x

    1. I'll have another couple of posts for you soon. I'm really enjoying the talks, glad you liked the post. x

  3. He's one of my favourite artists. I'm fascinated by him and love the punchy power of his work. X

    1. There's so much detail and really when you see his next to those painted by the artists inspired by his work, it just shows what a master he was.x