Michelangelo Mersi was born at Caravaggio in Lombardy on September 28, 1573. His childhood was lived in a quite atmosphere in the small town located between Brescia and Milan. Caravaggio became orphaned at a very young age, and coincidentally was sent to Milan to study painting. This is where his career started. During the Eighteen years between his arrival in Rome and his death, Caravaggio enjoyed the pleasures of being a young artist. He enjoyed the triumph of a success, the travel of lands unknown, and unfortunately disgrace, exile, and a solitary death. Caravaggio, being exceptionally intelligent, had the ability to create an ample environment for success. He was able, through some trial and tribulations, to feel comfort with protection from patrons, and from generous pay. Unfortunately Caravaggio was alienated from the world. His personality conflicted with most of the time’s morals, values and laws. Being sexually ambiguous and badly behaved he became disliked and dis-respected.
With that aside, Caravaggio painted some of the most moving pictures. Through the use of his revolutionary techniques of lighting, Caravaggio became a recognized painter of the Baroque period. Discarding the traditional rendering of religious subject matter, Caravaggio brought to his paintings a sense of reality. In his paintings he simplifies the classical religious themes and breaks them down into something that could have taken place anywhere, at any time within the common society. This became an issue with his viewers. His viewpoint portrayed in his art became somewhat controversial. Many did not believe that a religious subject should be brought down to reflect common society. This style of representing nature and events that happen in nature was a fundamental skill learned during his apprenticeship with Peterzano, a Milanese painter. This is where Caravaggio’s formal artistic education began.
During Caravaggio’s time in Milan he was probably exposed too much of the rawness of life. Milan, being a distinguished lawless city, became a catalyst for Caravaggio’s soon acquired taste for violence, disrespect for authority, and the acquired portrayal of sexuality throughout his work.
Much of Caravaggio’s work raised questions concerning the content and intellectual processes that he used to formulate his work. Many believed that …
…ensity of sexuality and fallacies. The sash strategically placed to reveal the luciousness of the Bacchus. These subjects are all tools used to seduce the viewer.
In contrast to the portrayal of a provocatively exposed body, the table seen creates a formal position, which contrasts greatly with the Bacchus. But the table, representing a look somewhat like that of a tombstone, compliments the green hue of the Bacchus’ skin, as well as the representation of the sick Bacchus.
Caravaggio’s uses of symbolism in his work helped him create a name for himself. The ability to read his paintings from so many angles, like in the Sick Bacchus, is what has helped keep Caravaggio and his art alive. His ability to incorporate so many aspects into his work through symbolism and indirtectness, in some cases can be noted a s ingenious. Much of Caravaggio’s is a dissection on the meaning and conditions of knowledge. He can be explained as a “phenomenon which his contemporaries feared, admired, and did not understand (Kitson 9).” His works speak through the visible, but they speak the invisible, they focus on man’s body, but their interests is in his spirit and in his soul (Abrams 46).”