Date of Graduation

Spring 2015

Document Type

Honors Research Project

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Art - History Emphasis

Research Sponsor

Elisha Dumser, PhD

First Reader

Karen V. Edwards, PhD

Second Reader

Gediminas Gasparavicius, PhD


This article looks at the way Italian Baroque painter, Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio broke from the artistic conventions of the Renaissance and Mannerist styles in his religious paintings to create an entirely new style that reflected the needs of the post-Tridentine Catholic Church. Caravaggio pushed painting throughout Europe in a new direction, away from the idealization of the Renaissance and the artistic extremes of Mannerism, by popularizing realism in art. Caravaggio’s unique style is examined through comparisons of his paintings, The Conversion of Paul, c.1601 and The Martyrdom of Saint Peter, c.1601 in the Roman basilica, Santa Maria del Popolo with older works of the same subjects. His influence and legacy are addressed by looking both at writings by his contemporaries as well as the works of artists across western Europe who copied his style.