Caravaggio (1571 – 1610) was a brilliant, temperamental Italian artist whose technique of selectively illuminating subjects surrounded by deep shadows became a cornerstone of Baroque painting. Born Michelangelo Merisi, Caravaggio worked as a mason's laborer before moving to Rome to paint, where he attained the patronage of many high-ranking members of the Church. Loathing idealistic portrayals of religious figures, Caravaggio substituted a dramatic, contemporary realism that sparked both adoration and outrage. The monumental beauty of his work sharply contrasted with the disarray of his life, culminating in his murder of a man over a tennis wager. Caravaggio’s works strongly influenced many celebrated artists, including Rembrandt and Diego Velazquez.