Michele Angelo Amerighi da Caravaggio was born in 1571 in Milan, then part of the Spanish empire.
He started training with master painters sometime during his teens, and seems to have got involved in serious trouble shortly after, for he relocated to Rome after injuring a police officer in a local brawl.
His arrival at the eternal city was far from auspicious, for he was far away from home, without any connections in the big city and with nowhere to turn to. Luckily for him, it was a time when artists in general and painters, in particular, were in high demand, and soon he found himself with an income, albeit unsteady. Such was the case because apart from being a talented artist, Caravaggio seemed to be very hot-headed and never to shy away from street fights, duels and other skirmishes. One of those episodes ended with the death of a less skillful man from a certain degree of nobility, which prompted Caravaggio to fled once again, this time with a death sentence looming ominously over him.
The final stage of Caravaggio’s frenetic life was based in Naples, where he had sought refuge from his many foes. He kept on painting until his very last days. During his exile he travelled to Malta and Sicily and, unsurprisingly, seemed to have gained some new antagonists along the way. All this time he kept his cajoling attempts to revoke his sentence. Ironically, when he managed to do so and was set to return to Rome, death befell him on the road, in circumstances much debated until this day.
He left a vast artwork behind, most of it can be admired today in galleries across Rome, Florence, Milan or London. The true dimension of his works is still uncertain, as more paintings get tested and certified (or discarded) every year.