WHAT THEY'RE SAYING
- Typology: Private tour
- Duration: from 3 to 4 hours
- Included: Private guide
- Not-included: Entrance fees
- Operating Days: Sun; Mon; Tue; Wed; Thu; Fri; Sat;
- Meeting Point: Hotel - if located in Center
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The Walks Inside Rome team
A tour following in the footsteps of Caravaggio encompassing paintings, museums, churches and art history. An introduction to the brief and tumultuous life of this great Baroque painter.
A tour designed to uncover the locations throughout Rome where Caravaggio’s art can be seen, evoking this artist's genius through a reading of his paintings.
As opposed to the other artists of his time who focused on portraying nobleman and religious figures, Caravaggio favored portraying ordinary people of the streets: boys, prostitutes, the poor and the aged. This dedication to portraying real people was a profound and revolutionary innovation that left its mark on a generation of artists.
Caravaggio’s insistence on rendering the emotional truth of experience, whether religious or secular, deems his art eternally relevant. He produced masterpieces of astonishing complexity and power.
There are a great number of Caravaggio’s in Rome; the city is predominately where the artist worked. An itinerary therefore outlining what you would specifically like to see is recommended.
Options include the Borghese Gallery and St Mary of the People or a tour of Caravaggio’s paintings still in churches: the San Maria del Popolo, St Luigi dei Francesi and Basilica of Sant’Agostino together with sites in Rome recalling important moments in the artist’s life.
An introduction to Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio (1571-1610) from Walks Inside Rome’s founder, Marilena Barberi:
Caravaggio was thought to have been born in the Lombard village of his name place in 1571. Recent research suggests however, the artist was actually born in the village of Lombard in 1573. That even Caravaggio’s birthplace is contested perfectly indicates the mysterious life that followed.
The facts of Caravaggio’s early life are obscure; he received training in Milan and may or may not have spent time in Venice. He was certainly in Rome by the 1580’s. The early works of Caravaggio are dominated by his still life paintings. He found patronage of clerics, notably Cardinal Francesco Maria del Monte who secured for him his first big commission: the wonderful ‘Calling of St Matthew’ found in the San Luigi dei Franchesi.
Yet, Caravaggio defied convention; he was also a man of the streets who could not seem to free himself from brawls and vendettas. In 1606, he fled Rome after killing a man in a fight and thus his final years were spent in exile in Naples, Malta and Sicily. This period proved to be fruitful for the artist as he produced some of his best masterpieces.
Thanks to a powerful intercession between two powerful Cardinal, Scipione Borghese and Ferdinando Gonzaga, Caravaggio was eventually pardoned. With the promise of Gonzaga’s protection, Caravaggio felt safe enough to take the journey from the south, back to Rome. The ship stopped briefly in Palo, and it was in Palo that the painter was probably mistaken for someone else, and arrested by Spanish soldiers. Released from prison, Caravaggio set of to find the boat that still had his paintings in Porto Ercole. The artist desperately needed the paintings to give as gifts to those who had fought for his pardon. As the famous art historian Giovanni Bellori comments “BAD LUCK DID NOT ABANDON HIM”
Caravaggio caught up with the boat in Porto Ercole. Like so much of Caravaggio’s life, even his last hours have become the subject of fervent debate. It's claimed that he did not die of natural causes but the Knights of Malta murdered him. Documents discovered support this theory.
Once the death of Caravaggio reached Rome, his collectors were greatly concerned with the whereabouts of his final paintings. Several works were found in Naples. Scipione put some pieces in his Borghese collection.
Caravaggio truly created something stronger than time and age and even more powerful than death.