Though not from Rome, Caravaggio, who spent much of his life and achieved his status as an artist here, belongs to Rome.

This exceptional exhibit at the Scuderie del Quirinale brings it all together:  his ground-breaking use of light, the intensity in those faces and bodies which seem to strain to break off the canvas, his ability to take a scene such as the Annunciation or the Supper at Emmaus  painted by artists before him many times over, and bring it to another dimension.  Once seen, never forgotten.

The story goes that Caravaggio once was arrested  over a plate of artichokes that weren’t prepared to his liking.  Whether he threw them at the waiter or smashed them in his face, police records verify the incident.

 I know exactly how he must have felt. Though never having resorted to violence, I’ve often sulked when my Roman artichokes weren’t just perfectly done.

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