Caravaggio’s initial public commissions, Martyrdom of Saint Mathew and Calling of Saint Mathew, brought him fame and business. Carvaggio was suddenly a celebrity and he had the personality to accompany it. He became known for his brawling behavior, showy personal displays and eventually had to flee Rome after killing a man in a brawl. Caravaggio was noted to carry a sword and dagger in public and in his later years began sleeping armed while fully clothed. Caravaggio left Sicily believing, with some evidence, that he was being pursued by assassins.

Caravaggio’s best known self-portrait is one called Young Sick Bacchus. Academics have found his portrait in many of his works. In his painting, The Taking of Christ, Caravaggio is in the mob holding the lantern. In the painting The Musicians, Caravaggiopeers over the shoulder of the lute player, thought to be the face of Mario Minniti, an Italian artist and companion of Caravaggio’s. In Caravaggio’s rendering of the battle between David and Goliath, some believe that he is the face of David. In the latter versions of the scene he is thought to be both David and the face of Goliath. In his painting, The Martyrdom of Saint Mathew, Caravaggioappears in the distant center staring as Saint Mathew fall under the sword. Caravggio placed himself in the face of Medusa, a Roman Style painting.

There is debate and speculation as to how often he appears in his own paintings. It is a pastime for many like looking for Easter eggs. There is no question that Caravaggio painted himself in many of his paintings. In a lot of paintings he uses the same faces, often Mario Minniti. When you come across a painting by Caravaggio, look closely at the faces. Caravaggio might be looking at you.

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