Caravaggio; Judith Beheading Holofernes circa 1598

Caravaggio, Doubting Thomas c 1602

Caravaggio, The Cardsharps, c. 1595

Caravaggio is an art history student’s dream. Finally a painter who is a bad ass. An arrogant bar brawler and slummer who changed painting and died under mysterious circumstances with the Pope having put a price on his head.

He carried a sword to defend his style from his many imitators and to settle petty bar brawls he mostly caused himself. He used peasants and slum dwellers to depict biblical characters and had no problem showing the sickly and dark parts of life in paintings made for the finest cathedrals of his time.

More about Caravaggio in this excellent video series, Simon Schama’s The Power of Art here or here.