Caravaggio Paintings

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Caravaggio was possibly the most revolutionary artist of his day not following the conventional rules of painting and lighting that had directed other artists for centuries before.  His controversial paintings went against the idealized human and religious experience seen in paintings by other artists and instead focused on more naturalistic painting.


Many of his predecessors did not paint from real life objects. Caravaggio revolted against this way of painting and took his real life subjects from the streets, the lower classes of society, and painted them realistically. He typically used oil on canvas and painted half-length figures and still lives.  He used light and dark lighting effects, called chiaroscuro, in his painting that would have been impressive to the people of the time. The bold contrasts between light and dark in order to illuminate the focal point in his paintings almost seems to replicate the chaos of his own life. The lighting effects give emphasis to the shapes and features as well as humanity.

Though he received much criticism for it, Caravaggio painted Biblical characters as ordinary people. He wanted to paint from nature and depicted these heroes as everyday people though this outraged some who felt that enough reverence was not given to these figures.

Even though chiaroscuro and naturalistic paintings had been done before, Caravaggio’s intense effects played a significant role in altering Mannerism through the many future artists who followed his style. His dramatic manipulation of light, belief in working with human models, and his non-sentimental approach to religious art inspired many artists to come in the Baroque school of art.

Find out more about Famous Caravaggio Paintings:

The Calling of St. Matthew

The Cardsharps

The Lute Player

Supper at Emmaus

The Taking of Christ

Learn about Caravaggio's Genre Paintings

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