Caravaggio Fun Facts

Caravaggio became an orphan at a young age.  

Caravaggio had a violent temper which frequently got him into fights.  In 1606 he fled Rome after he killed Ranuccio Tomassoni in a brawl.

At one point Caravaggio had a death warrant issued for him by the Pope.  

Carvaggio’s full name was Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio or Michelangelo Merisi from Caravaggio.  Caravaggio is a small town in northern Italy, near Milan where Caravaggio was born and from where he took his nickname.


At the age of 39, Caravaggio died on July 18, 1610, at Porto Ecole on the coast of Tuscany, Italy.

Only about 50 of Caravaggio’s paintings can be seen in their original condition.  

Caravaggio used prostitutes and people from the lower class of society as models for his paintings.  This upset many who did not want to see prostitutes posing in the role of religious figures.

All Caravaggio paintings have a dark background.

Caravaggio sometimes placed his own image in his paintings.  He was the face of Goliath in his painting David with the head of Goliath.

Caravaggio only signed one of his paintings, La Decollazione di San Giovanni Battista, The Beheading of Saint John the Baptist.  

Caravaggio earned the nickname “The Most Famous Painter in Rome”.

Caravaggio and some of his famous paintings can be seen on the front and back of old Italian Lire banknotes.  

In 2010, scientists stated that they believed with 85% certainty that they had discovered the bones of Caravaggio.  

Caravaggio is credited as a pioneer of the Italian Baroque style which followed the Mannerist style.    He also developed a style of undaunted realism that appealed to the emotions in a way that was unequaled by his peers.  

Caravaggio mastered the painting technique known as chiaroscuro and was crucial in developing the style of tenebrism.

Unlike his peers, Caravaggio worked directly onto the canvas.

Caravaggio’s career lasted only 13 years.

Visit Caravaggio

Other Great Masters

Caravaggio Prints >

The Lute Player
The Lute Player

The Supper at Emmaus
The Supper at Emmaus

The Fortune Teller
The Fortune Teller