He’s always been known as a tempestuous, highly strung, complex and sometimes violent, passionate yet brilliant artist. Caravaggio’s dark, dramatic, realistic, strikingly modern works have struck chords with contemporary audiences the world over. But now it is his criminal record that’s causing more controversy than Pete Doherty on a Friday night in Camden or Ricky Gervais…anywhere in America.
An exhibition of documents at Rome’s State Archives shines a light on the turbulent life of the artist at the end of the 16th and beginning of the 17th centuries. Michelagnolo da Caravaggio’s escapades – including frequent brawls, one of which brought him a death sentence from Pope Paul V – are described in the hand written police records, all bound together in heavy tomes and carefully preserved in this amazing repository of Rome’s history during the Renaissance and after.
Old ‘Vaggio was a naughty one, frequently getting into fights. He brushed with the law after throwing a plate of cooked artichokes in the face of a waiter in a tavern – all very Naomi Campbell. His landlady was not a huge fan either. He made a hole in the ceiling of his rented studio – so that his paintings would fit inside (obviously!). His landlady sued, so he and a friend (logically) pelted her window with stones.
These brilliant new tales are all documented with eyewitness accounts in this collection of ageing parchments.