Brilliant and temperamental, Caravaggio (1571 – 1610) was an Italian artist whose technique of illuminating subjects framed by deep shadows revolutionized Baroque painting. Born Michelangelo Merisi, Caravaggio worked as a mason’s laborer before he moved to Rome to paint, acquiring the artistic patronage of many powerful members of the Roman Church. Caravaggio rebelled against idealistic depictions of religious figures by painting them with a modern realism that ignited both outrage and acclaim. His exceptional artistic abilities contrasted sharply with his turbulent life, culminating in the murder of a man over a tennis wager. Despite his scandalous behavior, Caravaggio inspired many noteworthy artists, including Rembrandt and Diego Velazquez.