Caravaggio: A Life Sacred and Profane (Paperback)
A New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice and a Washington Post Notable Book of the Year
"This book resees its subject with rare clarity and power as a painter for the 21st century." —Hilary Spurling, New York Times Book Review
Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio (1571–1610) lived the darkest and most dangerous life of any of the great painters. This commanding biography explores Caravaggio’s staggering artistic achievements, his volatile personal trajectory, and his tragic and mysterious death at age thirty-eight. Featuring more than eighty full-color reproductions of the artist’s best paintings, Caravaggio is a masterful profile of the mercurial painter.
About the Author
Andrew Graham-Dixon is a prominent writer, television host, and historian. He has written a number of acclaimed books and has won the Hawthornden Prize, Britain’s top prize for writing about art. Considered “the most gifted art critic of his generation” (Robert Hughes), Graham-Dixon researched Caravaggio’s life for more than ten years.
Enthralling…reads like a historical-swashbuckler-cum-detective-story while also providing an up-to-date introduction to some of the most admired paintings in Western art.
— Michael Dirda
Graham-Dixon combed the criminal records of the era to glean extraordinary details about the artist’s run-ins with the law. He skillfully evokes the social and religious context of turn-of-the-17th-century Italy.
— Ann Levin
A thrilling lesson in the art of seeing…a detective story with a highly satisfying ending.
— Peter Carey, two-time winner of the Man Booker Prize
This book [resees] its subject with rare clarity and power as a painter for the 21st century.
— Hilary Spurling
Caravaggio has rarely been seen in such depth and such relief as in this marvelous biography.
— Neil MacGregor, author of A History of the World in 100 Objects
Graham-Dixon combines the rigor of a historian with the imaginative insight of a novelist to create a subtle and beautifully burnished portrait.
— Mark Stevens, Pulitzer Prize–winning coauthor of De Kooning: An American Master
Andrew Graham-Dixon brings the bad-boy genius of the seventeenth century to life as vividly as if he were one of today’s pop stars.
— John Richardson, author of A Life of Picasso
A rollicking take on the Counter Reformation painter, an autodidact prone to smashing plates in restaurants, challenging competitors with swords, and using prostitutes as models for the Virgin Mary.
— Megan O’Grady
[Graham-Dixon] took ten years to come to terms with a very obdurate and highly original painter. Time well spent.
Graham-Dixon demonstrates why he is considered the foremost British art critic of his generation…He’s achieved a masterpiece of his own: an informative, fresh account of the painter’s life and death. Even more impressive are the author’s powerful and accessible analyses of Caravaggio’s paintings, commentary that leaves readers eager to see the pieces at the heart of the story.
— Michelle Jones
Brilliantly illuminates the life of an artist who was no less shadowy than his canvases—a man capable of both committing murder and creating ineffable beauty.
— Joseph Luzzi