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All about Caravaggio (Plus, a Tutorial!)

On this 29th of September, we mark what would have been the 452nd birthday of Italian master painter, Caravaggio, father to widely famous works such as “Medusa”, “Narcissus”, and “Basket of Fruit”. Seen as an influential artistic figure of his time, Caravaggio is recognized for his way of straying from traditional creative norms of the time, and for ultimately inspiring other notable artists in the likes of Rembrandt, Eugène Delacroix, and Peter Paul Rubens.

Basket of Fruit Caravaggio, Oil on Canvas 1599.

Caravaggio began his pursuit of art at the early age of eleven, where after having relocated to Milan, he began apprenticing for Simone Peterzano, an Italian master painter. Around the age of 24, Caravaggio had grown confident enough in his painting skills to embark on a career of his own, and began to sell his paintings. He quickly grew his notoriety, and was commissioned to make several works for many important figures of the Italian time period.

Narcissus Caravaggio, Oil on Canvas 1599.

Caravaggio’s work can be recognized for its extreme use of tenebrism, a technique brought to light by the artist himself. In essence, the method involves giving an artwork a gloomy feel by emphasizing shadows. This tends to make the work feel very dramatic and mysterious. The technique was taken up by many artists later on, and became a key characteristic of the Baroque art period. An example of tenebrism in Caravaggio’s work is like so:

Saint Jerome Writing Caravaggio, Oil on Canvas 1606.

While Caravaggio passed away in 1610 at the age of 39, he undeniably left behind him an important mark in the art world, influencing countless generations of creators after him.

Are you still interested in Caravaggio and his work? Why not try to make a cool drawing inspired by his paintings! Check out the video tutorial below to learn how to create this fun doodle based off of the artist’s “Basket of Fruit” . The best part is, it’s completely customizable, so you can let your creativity run wild and edit the drawing however you’d like! See the video below:

Did you try out this activity? Share your results with us on our Facebook and Instagram pages! We’d love to see what you created!

Artists like Caravaggio played a big role in shaping art to be what it is today. Next time you’re making art, think of him and in what way he might have influenced what you’re creating!

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