One of the finest paintings at the State Hermitage Museum happens to be The Lute Player (1595) by Michelangelo Merissi da Caravaggio (1571-1610). In 1592, when the artist was about twenty years old, he left the Lombard area of Italy and went to Rome. There Caravaggio initially gained employment with the little-known Sicilian painter Lorenzo Carli. Caravaggio quickly moved over to Calvaliere d’Arpino’s workshop, where he was put in charge of painting flowers and fruit. It was here that Caravaggio learned the workings of a large workshop operation and the mechanics of art patronage in Rome. After a couple of years at this workshop Caravaggio started creating paintings of half-length figures to sell on the open market to prove he could do more than paint flowers and fruit.
Read more on https://musings-on-art.org/caravaggio-early-work
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