Caravaggio is the most arresting European painter of the years around 1600. Although he died in 1610, in his thirty-ninth year, he is often considered the most important Italian painter of the entire seventeenth century. He is also notorious as a painter-assassin: he killed a man in 1606, and a similar crime was rumored in his youth. Caravaggio's painting speak to us more personally and more poignantly than any others of the time. We meet him over the gulf of centuries, not as a commanding and admirable historical figure like Annibale Carracci, but as an artist who somehow cut through the artistic conventions of his time right down to the universal blood and bone of life.