Michelangelo Merisi, the man who would become the famed but troubled artist known as Caravaggio, worked extensively in Rome. Known as the "Bad Boy of the Baroque", Caravaggio's works date from the late 16th and early 17th centuries.
Although he originally trained in Milan, he worked extensively in Rome, and some of his most famous paintings (which are some of the best-known paintings from the Baroque Art period) decorate Rome's churches or are located within the city's galleries.
The Borghese Gallery, one of Rome's Top Museums, contains almost one dozen Caravaggio paintings, so it's an excellent place to start your Caravaggio journey.
Some of the more famous Caravaggio artworks on display are "Boy with a Basket of Fruit," "David with the Head of Goliath," "Self- portrait as Bacchus," and his portrait of Pope Paul V.
Reservations for the Borghese Gallery are mandatory and your ticket allows you a two hour time period inside. To lessen your travel stress, buy your Borghese Gallery tickets online in advance from Select Italy.
Church of San Luigi dei Francesi
The best place to find Caravaggio paintings in Rome is in the small church of San Luigi dei Francesi near Piazza Navona. Inside the Contarelli Chapel you can see the master's "Saint Matthew" cycle, which is comprised of "The Calling of Saint Matthew," "Inspiration of Saint Matthew," and "The Martyrdom of Saint Matthew."
Entrance to the church is free, though it will cost you a nominal fee to activate the lights in order to properly view the paintings.
The Capitoline Museums contain two paintings by Caravaggio. "The Fortune Teller" is a painting that Caravaggio executed twice.
The painting in the Capitoline is the first version while the second is in the Louvre in Paris. Caravaggio's "John the Baptist (With a Ram)" is also located in the Capitoline Museums.
Church of Santa Maria del Popolo
The Cerasi Chapel in Santa Maria del Popolo, the unassuming church on the north side of Piazza del Popolo, is where to go for quick Caravaggio fix.
The chapel contains two paintings, and admission is free to the public: "Conversion of Saint Paul on the Road to Damascus" and the very famous "Crucifixion of Saint Peter."
Caravaggio's work "The Entombment of Christ" is located in the Vatican Museums. Since it is located in the Pinacoteca, (art gallery), of the Vatican Museums, it is often overlooked as visitors rush through to get to the Sistine Chapel and the other top attractions in the Museum.
However, this well-known, emotive work is definitely worth seeking out, and you will get away from the crowds, at least for a few moments. The Art Gallery includes works by many other top artists including Giotto, Raphael, Perugino, and da Vinci.
The best way to avoid long entrance lines is by buying your ticket in advance, up to 60 days before your visit. You can purchase Vatican Museum tickets online from Select Italy.