The Trouble with Caravaggio: The artist’s first eighteen months in Rome explored



LONDON.- This article concentrates on understanding the course of Caravaggio’s first eighteen months in Rome, and attempts to review the environment in which he gained recognition by dint of the support of the few who tolerated him, despite a character that was fundamentally at odds with all around. Only a few people found out about his invention before Cardinal Del Monte, his first major patron, and that was because not only did he arrive in Rome no more than eighteen months before he was taken under his powerful protection, but also because the artist himself had not fully realized his sensational abilities. A vulnerable individual who obviously had many problems that would never go away, it was his facility with imitation that meant that he was initially used to make multiple images and icons, and then likenesses of famous people, in the industry of souvenirs that flourished in the city, then as now. Alienated from his family and from his people in Lombardy, he came to Rome as a refugee with no means of support, probably leaving behind a chaotic existence matching his subsequent behaviour. Like his own reticence about what he was doing, the subjective reading of his art gives few clues as to the phenomenon of his personality, he viewed people and things in a fundamentally different way from his contemporaries, and latched on to the idea of imitation, at first applied to portraiture, rather than the idea del bello because of an almost savant-like ability to capture what he saw. . The realization that he arrived in Rome only towards the end of 1595, at the earliest, actually brings a welcome order also to subsequent events, and brings the man himself into more intelligible focus. It also demonstrates that his artistic development was radically different from that of other major painters of his time, who fashioned their images from their recollection and imagination . He was not the first painter to work from life as is usually ….. SEE MORE ON ARTDAILY.ORG


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