Amerighi da Caravaggio, the talented artist, was born in Milan, Italy in 1571. While his more famous works depict anything from everyday people (The Musicians) to Christian motifs (Nativity) to still life work (Basket of Fruit), they all embody a sense of passion in their intense colour choices and depth created with desirably soft edges and textures.
The portraits figuratively pulse with their models’ spirits as Caravaggio captures them mid-sentence as if he had walked into the room, shouted, “Surprise!” and snapped a picture as the faces paused to look.
My favourite painting of Caravaggio’s is the above portrait titled “Cardsharps”. Similar to his other paintings, this scene is done in oil on canvas. In particular, this work of art uses neutral colours to create intense lighting and shadow, thus bringing a wonderful depth to such a whimsical scene. Unlike a lot of his paintings, these subjects are not looking toward the viewer, which allows any living person to feel as if they are a part of the rigged card game. The faces themselves add to the reality on the canvas. The unsuspecting card player looks innocently at his hand while a shady middle man looks at said hand and signals the dealer. The dealer then, feigning innocence himself, places a necessary card in the back of his ensemble and has thus rigged the game.
While van Gogh, Noel Fielding, and Salvador Dalí are my top three artists, Caravaggio falls onto my top five at number four. Anyone who has such exquisite talent and enough technical mastery to make a feather in a cap look so real deserves high praise and admiration.