A New York Times Notable Book of the Year
As Peter Robb vividly and unflinchingly presents here, with "blood and bone and sinew" (Times Literary Supplement), Caravaggio's wild and tempestuous life was a provocation to a culture in a state of siege. The end of the sixteenth century was marked by the Inquisition and Counter-Reformation, a background of ideological war against which, despite all odds, brilliant feats of art and science were achieved. No artist captured the dark, violent spirit of the time better than Caravaggio, variously known as Marisi, Moriggia, Merigi, and, sometimes, simply M. As art critic Robert Hughes has noted, "There was art before him and art after him, and they were not the same." Robb's masterful biography "re-creates the mirror Cravaggio held up to nature," as Hilary Spurling observed in The New York Times Book Review, "with singular delicacy as well as passion and panache."