It was not until the middle of the 20th century that Caravaggio (1571-1610), an Italian painter long considered controversial, was rediscovered. An advocate of Realism, this artist of the Counter-Reformation challenged the establishment and returned a sense of humanity to images of the saints. The sensuality he gave them went beyond veneration to create an ambiguous eroticism, which incurred the wrath of the Church. Paradoxical and violent, this painter of shadows illustrated with solemnity his debauched lifestyle and dissolute morals. With his invention of chiaroscuro, he made his blood-soaked impression on the history of art.
Eugène Müntz (1845-1902) was a member of the Institut de France and curator of the collections of L'École nationale des Beaux-Arts in Paris, and has been one of the most influential specialists on the Italian Renaissance, focusing his attention on Florentine painters such as Leonardo da Vinci and Raphael. He wrote profusely on the great masters of the Renaissance and pioneered the modern study of Italian art history.
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