Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio (29 September 1571 – 18 July 1610) was an Italian artist active in Rome, Naples, Malta, and Sicily between 1593 and 1610. His intensely emotional realism and dramatic use of lighting had a formative influence on the Baroque school of painting. Trained in Milan, Caravaggio moved to Rome in his early 20s, where he filled with paintings numerals churches and palazzo.
Caravaggio's novelty was a radical naturalism which combined close physical observation with a dramatic, even theatrical, use of chiaroscuro that came to be known as Tenebrism, the shift from light to dark with little intermediate value. He burst upon the Rome art scene in 1600 with the success of his first public commissions, the Martyrdom of Saint Matthew and Calling of Saint Matthew. Thereafter he never lacked for commissions or patrons, yet he handled his success atrociously.
However, famous while he lived, Caravaggio was forgotten almost immediately after his death, and it was only in the 20th century that his importance to the development of Western art was rediscovered.