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Publisher's Summary

In the tradition of John Richardson's Picasso, a commanding new biography of the Italian master's tumultuous life and mysterious death. For four hundred years Caravaggio's (1571-1610) staggering artistic achievements have thrilled viewers, yet his volatile personal trajectory - the murder of Ranuccio Tomasini, the doubt surrounding Caravaggio's sexuality, the chain of events that began with his imprisonment on Malta and ended with his premature death - has long confounded historians. In a bravura performance, Andrew Graham-Dixon delves into the original Italian sources, presenting fresh details about Caravaggio's sex life, his many crimes and public brawls, and the most convincing account yet published of the painter's tragic death at the age of thirty-eight. With illuminating readings of Caravaggio's infamous religious paintings, which often depict prostitutes and poor people, Graham-Dixon immerses readers in the world of Italy at the height of the Counter-Reformation and creates a masterful profile of the mercurial painter's life and work.

©2010 Andrew Graham-Dixon (P)2013 Audible, Inc.

What listeners say about Caravaggio

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Listen to this with his art work in front of you

Would you listen to Caravaggio again? Why?

Yes I've listen to this twice, and find myself inspired to visit an art museum both times. It's a great look at Caravaggio's life, the times he lived in, and an overall approach to looking at art pieces for both their form and function.

The writing was a little florid and hyperbolic, but reflected the nature of baroque art and the rollercoaster of Caravaggio's life. If anyone's read anything else or seen documentaries about Caravaggio, it seems almost impossible to talk about him without getting overdramatic.

Any additional comments?

I found it helpful to look up the pieces on Google as they came up in the book, or at least to look through galleries of his work afterward.

14 people found this helpful

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Truly Sacred, truly beautiful, sadly profane...

As a devoted admirer of Caravaggio, I was drawn to this biography because of the detail and scholarly research. However, I found it to be much more than I expected. The author's deep spiritual insights and beautiful descriptions of the "Holy Works" created by Caravaggio, brought me close to tears several times. Caravaggio, was clearly a man of divided devotions and divine talent...A troubled and lonely soul.

The narrator is exceptional in both tone and feeling. If you love classical art, tragedy and The Bible. This is a book worth your time.

10 people found this helpful

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Chiaroscuro life

I listen to this audiobook looking at the Caravaggio’s paintings. The author made me penetrate into the paintings. He did an excellent job by combining the biography of the painter with a vivid interpretation of his paintings.

I also enjoyed the narration spiked with an appropriate Italian accent.

8 people found this helpful

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Interesting life

It is obvious that Andrew Graham-Dixon has done a lot of research before writing this book. The book is well written and keeps one interested throughout the book. Graham-Dixon not only covers the life of Caravaggio but also provides the history of the catholic church and Italy during the life of the painter. This in-depth coverage made me feel as if I was there. Edoardo Ballerini did an excellent job with all the Italian names. Before reading this book I knew nothing about Caravaggio. Michelangelo Merisi Caravaggio was born in Milan on 27 September 1571 and died 18 July 1610 in Porto Ercole. He studied in Milan then in his twenties moved to Rome. He apparently had no problems obtaining commissions but he had a violent temper and was frequently in brawls and in jail. His style of painting had a formative influence on the Baroque School of Painting. He created the style of shadows that make his pictures unique. Graham-Dixon explains each of his major paintings in depth about his technique as well as who hired him and how he worked on the painting. I liked the fact that Graham-Dixon explained the findings of other authors about Caravaggio and if there was new evidence on the subject he explained the findings. This was most evident in his discussion about Caravaggio killing a man in Rome and then his flight to Naples and eventually Malta. Of course, Caravaggio produced paintings in all the cities he visited during his flight. He thought his patron had obtained clearance from the Pope to return to Rome but Caravaggio caught a fever on his trip to Rome from Malta and died at Porto Ercole. I wanted to see some of his painting and I found the Caravaggio foundation has them available on the web. I came into this book knowing nothing but I now feel I have a good understanding of the man and the times he lived in. If you are interested in art or history I am sure you will enjoy this book.

21 people found this helpful

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So much to learn

A great story about a great artist in turbulent times but a facinating story of his talent a influence on such greats as Rembrandt and others

5 people found this helpful

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Great Portrayal of Caravaggio and His Work

This is a great story, full of art, history and the most unlikely hero. I highly recommend this book for anyone remotely interested in art!

3 people found this helpful

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A must read for Caravaggio fans. read with the paintings in hand

The best and most thorough biography of Caravaggio I have stumbled upon. Seems to make sense in many previous assumptions about missing information. The narraration is mind blowing!!! My only concern had to do with the feeling that too often the author dealt with minute information that made the story line feel too cumbersome.

2 people found this helpful

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So tragic, so outstanding

The book is very well researched and got to great lengths to reconstruct what might have been the many dubious situations and events in this enigmatic man's life.
The ending is so sad that I'll never forget it.

Italian names are almost always correctly pronounced, which is a rarity among native English speakers.

1 person found this helpful

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enjoyable

enjoyable. left me feeling that i know everything worth knowing about the artist. of course I don't but....

1 person found this helpful

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Michael Angelo Marsi Caravaggio

A mis remarkable telling of a tortured life of a great painter, despite all produced a great volume of work with realistic and very emotional religious paintings base on bible stories interpreted like no other before or since. I listen and looked in you tube and google at the paintings and that help to squire a better idea for me. Love the reader.

1 person found this helpful