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Polidoro da Caravaggio (1492-1543)

Polidoro Caldara, usually known as Polidoro da Caravaggio (Caravaggio, 1495 or 1492 – Messina, 1543)

was a mainly decorative painter of the early Renaissance, "arguably the most gifted and certainly the least conventional of Raphael's pupils", who was best known for his now-vanished paintings on the facades of Roman houses. He was unrelated to the later painter Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio, usually known just as Caravaggio, but both came from the same small town, and the fact that Polidoro had a high reputation may have led Michael Merisi to take the by then rather unusual step of adding the name of his home town to his own name.

According to Vasari, discovered at the age of eighteen working as a labourer in the 'Logge' (decorated c. 1517-19), which he then helped to paint; subsequently, in collaboration with the Florentine, Maturino (d. 1528) and inspired by the example of Peruzzi, decorated innumerable façades with grisaille friezes. Surviving Roman works include: façades of the Palazzo Ricci, Palazzo Milesi (via della Maschera d'Oro), and the Casino del Bufalo (these last detached and now in the Museo di Roma), frescoes in S. Silvestro al Quirinale and four oblong scenes from Roman history in the Villa Lante (these last removed to the Hertziana). After the Sack of Rome he fled to Naples and thence to Messina where 'inter alia' he designed decorations for the entry of Charles V (1535).

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