Bartolomeo Manfredi, Mantua 1582 - 1622 Rome

  • Bartolomeo Manfredi

    Mantua 1582 - 1622 Rome

Bartolomeo Manfredi was Caravaggio’s closest follower, who drew upon the revolutionary master’s naturalism and dramatic use of chiaroscuro in reinterpretations of his most popular subjects and in the rendering of themes Manfredi invented entirely by himself. Trained in Milan, Cremona, and Brescia, Manfredi arrived in Rome around 1605 and studied with Cristoforo Roncalli. In his earliest works, Manfredi married the sharply defined forms and bright colors of late Roman Mannerism as practiced by Roncalli with the drama and tenebrism of Caravaggio. During his mature period, Manfredi evolved his signature frieze-like compositions with half-length figures, adopting themes beyond Caravaggio’s repertoire, especially tavern scenes. Though he executed very few public works, Manfredi was nevertheless highly successful, and many of the most important collectors in Rome and Tuscany, including Vincenzo Giustiniani and Ferdinando I de’ Medici, owned his works. Manfredi supplied a market hungry for Caravaggesque paintings, while his own innovations, especially in terms of the development of low-life genre subjects, inspired a new generation of artists coming to Rome from the North, such as Nicolas Régnier and Nicolas Tournier.