Caravaggio 1 (afternoon)
1. Early works: A Boy, bitten…
Born in Milan but brought up in nearby Caravaggio – which gave him the name with which we are familiar – the young Michelangelo Merisi arrived in Rome by 1591, at the age of 20. He had already trained as an artist, and now sought to make a living, moving from one workshop to another, until he was ‘adopted’ by Cardinal del Monte, and could be, you might think, more stable. His early works are mainly genre pieces – low-life subjects including card sharps, musicians, beautiful boys and fruit. A Boy bitten by a Lizard embodies everything that Caravaggio learnt in his early years, and shows us how the artist wanted painting to trigger so much more than just looking.