The unsurpassed master of the brush, Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio died in 1610 in Tuscany, 4 years after killing a man in a street brawl in Rome. Since then, the circumstances surrounding his death have been shrouded in mystery.
But a sample from his teeth provides us answer to this age-old question. A study done in France shows us that the Baroque painter had died from a Staph infection.
The study comes from a team of researchers from University Hospital for Infectious Diseases in Marseilles, while working in tandem with Italian anthropologists and microbiologists.
To determine the cause of death, they combined 3 separate methods of DNA identification. They concluded that the virus that killed the great Caravaggio was Staphylococcus Aureus.
Caravaggio's art imitated his life - unrestrained, loaded with bright emotions and deprivation. The Italian painter was born in Bergamo but spent the majority part of his life in Milan. He was a brawler and as such had to move quite often. He lived in Venice, Rome and Tuscany.
Caravaggio was born and raised in poverty, which is why there was an absence of idealized beauty in his work as a castle painter and religious mystic.
He would paint scenery and the people he saw every day. The physical settings he painted, however, were well combined with dramatic lighting, known as Tenebrism.
In his paintings, the rays of light are focused on human figures, while the background is darkened, thereby creating a theatrically dramatic atmosphere.