Caravaggio c. 1596
Oil on canvas, 94 x 119 cm
The Hermitage, St. Petersburg Lute Player f Italian Baroque Era Painter, ca.1571-1610
Italian painter. After an early career as a painter of portraits, still-life and genre scenes he became the most persuasive religious painter of his time. His bold, naturalistic style, which emphasized the common humanity of the apostles and martyrs, flattered the aspirations of the Counter-Reformation Church, while his vivid chiaroscuro enhanced both three-dimensionality and drama, as well as evoking the mystery of the faith. He followed a militantly realist agenda, rejecting both Mannerism and the classicizing naturalism of his main rival, Annibale Carracci. In the first 30 years of the 17th century his naturalistic ambitions and revolutionary artistic procedures attracted a large following from all over Europe.