Famous for his hot temper and controversial painting style, young Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio took Italy by storm during the political and religious upheaval of the Renaissance, and Marissa Moss exposes all the drama and passion of one of history’s most captivating artists, in Caravaggio: Painter on the Run.
In 1592, twenty-year-old Michel began swaggering through the pilazzos of Rome with talent, pride, and a burning need to prove himself to the art world by gaining a commission at St. Peter’s Basilica, the most exalted church in the Vatican, but his refusal to conform to the expectations of a corrupt papacy and unyielding personality land him in hot water on more than one occasion, eventually more than he can swim through on his own.
Described by a cardinal as having “an extravagant imagination” and being “moody and dark, and brilliant,” Caravaggio tells his own story of his larger-than-life personality and magnetism being at war with his self-destructive tendencies. The narrative is spiced with police depositions, notes, and pages of personal journals from friends, patrons, courtesans, and others drawn to his genius, all of which allow other perspectives to shine through.
No saint, Caravaggio nonetheless captures the divine, and Painter on the Run explores several of his masterpieces as well as delving into his much debated use of live models, particularly commoners and prostitutes, to depict holy scenes from Catholic scripture. His realistic renderings and masterful use of light and darkness are easy to visualize as Moss’s words seamlessly build beautiful, dark—and beautifully dark—images, canvas after canvas. A must read for students, art lovers, or anyone driven to succeed, Caravaggio: Painter on the Run is historical fiction at its finest.
Pallas Gates McCorquodale
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