Italian artist Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio (September 29, 1571 July 18, 1610) successfully entered the Roman art scene in 1600 with commissioned works for the Contarelli Chapel in the church of San Luigi dei Francesi- Martyrdom of Saint Matthew
and Calling of Saint Matthew
. At the time these works made him the most famous painter in Rome. Caravaggio's chiaroscuro
paintings are credited with the birth of Baroque.
Caravaggio's "Homoerotic" Works:
Influential Roman patron Cardinal Francesco Maria Del Monte commissioned Caravaggio's works The Musicians
, The Lute Player
, and Boy Bitten by a Lizard
- all of which featured young male models. These works are often used to examine Caravaggio's sexuality, much in the same way Da Vinci's depiction of males
is used to allege his sexuality.
However, to biographer Maurizio Calvesi (ArtDossier), such accusations are considered unscholarly since the works reflect the tastes of the patron not the artist.
Caravaggio's Exile and Death:
Early reports say Caravaggio was always eager for a fight and eventually killed a man in Rome in 1606. He was exiled to Naples, then used the influence of his considerably powerful patrons to secure a pardon. The exact cause and date of his death is still under speculation; however it is believed, despite attempts on his life by enemies, that he died of fever in 1610. Caravaggio enjoyed only a decade of fame and success.