Caravaggio Cover


A Passionate Life

By Desmond Seward

William Morrow & Company, Hardcover, 9780688150327, 224pp.

Publication Date: November 1, 1998

Michael Angelo da Caravaggio (1571-1610) had an amazingly colorful and adventurous career, full of dramatic contrasts. He was a religious artist who used prostitutes and castrati as his models; a mystic with a police record; the favorite of Cardinals and the Pope's portrait painter, who committed a murder; an outlaw from the Roman hills, lionized at Naples; a Knight of Malta imprisoned in a Maltese dungeon; hunted by hired assassins in a vendetta with an unknown enemy; horribly disfigured by sword cuts in a Neapolitan brothel. Ironically, he died on a lonely Tuscan beach after receiving a pardon that would have allowed him to become an even greater painter.

Based on the latest research, but largely written as an adventure story, the book concentrates on the man and his personality, without neglecting the artist. It vividly re-creates his life in early Baroque Italy and as a "monk of war" on Malta.