Eden Walks Blog

About Rome

10 Interesting facts about Caravaggio

The Life of Caravaggio in Rome

Caravaggio was born in Milan as Michelangelo Merisi, but his parents were from the city of Caravaggio. Early in his carrier, most of the artists during this Renaissance period would go by their first names like Leonardo, Michelangelo, or Raphael. However, since he didn’t want to be number two because there was already a Michelangelo, he decided to go by the name of Caravaggio.

We have no Caravaggio paintings from the time he was in Lombardy or Milan. The first painting we have of him was painted in Rome when he was 23 years old, and he spent time hanging out with cardinals, nobles, and aristocrats.


He started painting the mythological figure of The Young Sick Bacchus, also known as The Sick Bacchus. After that, he started to have many customers lining up in front of his studio in Rome to buy his paintings.

His first public and famous painting was The Calling of Saint Matthew, an oil painting on canvas completed by Caravaggio around 1599. The painting was Caravaggio’s first public commission in Rome, requested by the San Luigi dei Francesi church. It was one of a group of three paintings commissioned for Cardinal Matteo Contarelli’s chapel.


Describing The Calling of Saint Mathew

Who is represented in the painting? There is a group of people playing, and Christ comes in with a light that points directly where He is going, and that beautiful hand of Christ that is indicating, “Would you come with me?” And St. Mathew answers: “Me?” while the rest of the people who are playing at the table are not paying attention. 

What is exactly happening? Only two kids at the table turn around looking at Christ to see who is this guy, so Caravaggio can capture the moment like a director or a photographer.


This way we see the painting of reality, also called Realism, that inspired him. Caravaggio painted the reality of bad people, darkness and disease, depicting