A Set Of Popular Italian Painters

By Darren Hartley

Early Caravaggio paintings were paintings of flowers and fruits, including Boy Peeling a Fruit, also known to be the earliest of Caravaggio paintings, Boy with a Basket of Fruit and Young Sick Bacchus. They demonstrated physical particularity, an aspect of Caravaggio realism, for which he became famous for.

The Fortune Teller was the first of Caravaggio paintings to feature more than one figure. It was painted by an Italian artist active in Rome, Naples, Malta and Sicily whose full name was Michelangelo Merisi o Amerighi da Caravaggio. It carried a theme that was relatively new in Rome, that of a 16 year old Sicilian artist, who went by the name Mario Minniti, being cheated by a Gypsy girl. This theme became immensely influential in the coming century as well as the next.

The Cardsharps, an example of the more psychologically complex Caravaggio paintings was considered the first true Caravaggio masterpiece. It featured a boy falling prey to card cheats. Other Caravaggio paintings followed suit, namely, The Musicians, The Lute Player, a tipsy Bacchus and Boy Bitten by a Lizard. These paintings became a center of dispute among scholars and biographers due to the homoerotic ambiance they carried with them.

The first Caravaggio paintings on religious themes were a return to realism and showed an emergence of remarkable spirituality. These paintings included Penitent Magdalene, Saint Catherine, Martha and Mary Magdalene, Judith Beheading Holofernes, Sacrifice of Isaac, Saint Francis of Assisi in Ecstasy and Rest on the Flight into Egypt.

A celebration of perfection and grace is what Raphael paintings is all about. They carried with them serene and harmonious qualities. An Italian High Renaissance painter and architect was how Raphael Sanzio was known. He formed the traditional trinity of great masters of the period, together with Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci.

The 3 phases and 3 styles to which Raphael paintings fall naturally are Raphael's early years in Umbria, a 4 year period of absorption of the artistic traditions of Florence and his last triumphant but hectic 12 years in Rome.

Early Raphael paintings included a brilliant self-portrait drawing showing Raphael's precocious talent. Their technique showed thick paint application with the use of an oil varnish medium, in shadows and darker garments, but thin paint application on flesh areas.

Among Raphael paintings, the Baronci altarpiece for the church of Saint Nicholas of Tolentino has the distinction of being the first documented work. Large works, some in fresco, comprised the Raphael paintings of the following years. They were actually painted works for other churches, among which are the Mond Crucifixion, the Brera Wedding of the Virgin and Oddi Altarpiece.

Small and exquisite cabinet Raphael paintings during the period included the Three Graces and St. Michael. There was also the beginning of Madonna and portrait paintings among Raphael paintings in the same period.

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