Michelangelo Merisi (1571-1610), known as Caravaggio, was the main Baroque painter in Italy. His nickname comes from Caravaggio, the place where he was born. His life was very troubled, full of fights, disputes and controversy. His paintings were mainly religious, full of realism, dramatism, with big contrasts of light and shadow and with the purpose of shocking the audience. Several of his works were rejected by their commissioners and sometimes he had to redo the paintings, because they were not accurate with religion. In 1606 he killed a man on a fight and had to flee from Rome, to avoid being imprisoned. Four years later he died from malaria in Sicily.
Here you have some Caravaggio's works rejected:
- Inspiration of Saint Matthew
This first version was rejected, because Caravaggio painted Saint Matthew as an old common man and a very young angel helping him write his Gospel. The commissioners considered this representation of Saint Matthew to be disrespectful, because he appeared with bare feet, and they also considered the proximity of the angel to be obscene and too much erotic. That's why Caravaggio had to redo this painting in a more "acceptable" way
- Madonna with Saint Anne
This painting was made for the Vatican, but the very realistic way of representing the women, the naked child and the snake were considered to be inappropriate. The painting was in the Vatican only for some days and finally it was sold to Cardinal Borghese
-Death of the Virgin
This painting was commissioned by a Carmelite church, but when they received it, they rejected it and was sold to a private collector. The Virgin was represented as a young dead woman, instead of an old woman dying. The model for the painting was a prostitute who had drowned in the river and her body was swollen.The painting was considered to be immoral by the Church.
If you want to learn more from Caravaggio's turbulent life, here you have some links:
And on this short video you can see some of the paintings he made in his last 10 years of life: