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St Francis meditating
17th Century
Michelangelo CARAVAGGIO
Born 1571 Italy, Died 1610
St Francis meditating
[San Francesco]
Oil on canvas
128 x 94 cm  [HxW]
Ministero dell'Interno, Roma

Born near Bergamo 1571, Died Porto Ercole 1610. Caravaggio was in Rome by the age of 19. He had previously studied painting under a pupil of Titian’s. His tempestuous character caused frequent scandals and he was criticised for his Venetian method of working in oils directly from the natural model without the careful preparatory drawings traditional in central Italy. Characteristically his paintings were dramatically lit from the left. Later in Rome his painting became more assured, naturalistic and also more controversial as he often flouted theological correctness. He had many powerful supporters and has been recognised as the artist who rescued religious art from the nebulous unreality of late 16th century painting. In 1606 he fled from Rome after killing a man in a brawl. He spent the last four years of his life wandering from Naples to Malta and Sicily. He died at the age of 36 from an infection.

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