Caravaggio is an extremely well known Italian painter who painted in the Realistic Baroque style of art. His dramatic use of light and dark is revolutionary. Many other painters have tried to paint like him and failed. Caravaggio's real name is Michelangelo Merisi. He was born in 1571 in the town of Caravaggio; this is where he got his professional name. His father was Fermo Merisi, a steward and architect. At the age of eleven, Caravaggio was orphaned and apprenticed to the painter Simone Peterzano for four years. Some time between 1588 and 1592 Caravaggio moved to Rome and became an assistant to Giuseppe Cesari, a pupil of Titian. He painted flower and fruit pieces for him which are now lost. After that, he moved from job to job working for other painters. This was a very unstable period in his life. After a while, Caravaggio decided to set out on his own and sell his paintings. Caravaggio found a dealer that began to sell his paintings, Maestro Valentino. Valentino eventually showed Caravaggio's paintings to Cardinal Francesco Del Monte, who had great influence in the court. Del Monte invited Caravaggio to come and live at the house of the cardinal and receive a pension. He painted about 40 paintings for Del Monte, which mostly included paintings about adolescent boys. In 1597, Caravaggio was commissioned to paint the decoration of the Contarelli Chapel in the San Luigi dei Francesi church in Rome. This caused him to become very well known. For the church, he painted three very large paintings, St. Matthew and the Angel, The Calling of St. Matthew and The Martyrdom of St. Matthew. In these paintings, he painted them in a very contemporary, realistic way. This was not how saints were usually painted and this caused shock among the public. They even made Caravaggio redo one of the paintings! After he finished the church, Caravaggio had a swarm of people that wanted his paintings. Some of the paintings he did during this time are The Conversion of St. Paul, The Crucifixion of St. Peter, The Deposition of Christ and the Death of the Virgin. Many of the paintings he did during this time caused violent outrages. He painted the Madonna with Pilgrims for the San Agostino Church which ended up being a scandal because the old people kneeling down had dirty feet and a filthy, torn cap. Other paintings were rejected entirely. Even though Caravaggio was constantly criticized, he was still very successful. He became more and more popular as a painter. During this time, however, he had many run-ins with the law. He was arrested many times for various reasons. Other painters accused him of several things; he wounded a soldier, threw stones at a Roman guard and wounded another man defending his mistress. Then he had a serious brawl over the score of a tennis game and killed Ranuccio Tomassoni. Because of what he did, Caravaggio fled Rome and hid with a relative of the Marquis of Caravaggio. He then hid in several other places and eventually ended up in Naples. In Naples, he painted Madonna of the Rosary and The Seven Works of Mercy. During this time his painting style shifted, probably because of his desperate state of mind. After this, Caravaggio moved from place to place a lot. He went to Malta, where he painted The Beheading of St. John the Baptist for a cathedral. Word of his crime reached Malta and Caravaggio was imprisoned, but soon escaped. He then went to Sicily and painted The Resurrection of Lazarus and The Adoration of the Shepherds. Then he moved to Palermo and painted the Adoration with St. Francis and St. Lawrence. Caravaggio was eventually arrested when he went by boat from Naples to Rome. His boat stopped in Palo where he was arrested. However, he was released. When he was released, he found that the boat had already left along with everything he owned. He set out to overtake the vessel and arrived at Port Ercole where he died a few days later. He probably died of either pneumonia or a fever. Even though Caravaggio spent much of his life running from the law, he is still considered to be one of the best painters of all time. His style is unmatched and is still admired today.