NBA finalist, Francine Prose takes on a great artist whose life was brief and paradoxical, more loathed in his own time than any modern artist since. This is a study of why revolutionary art can be reviled in its own time and revered in another. Building on a biographical tradition that can be traced back to Aubrey's "Brief Lives", Dr Johnson's "Lives of the Poets" and Lytton Strachey's "Eminent Victorians", this exciting and ground-breaking new series pairs great biographers, historians and novelists with iconic subjects, the writing bristling with original and distinctive points of view. Francine Prose's life of Caravaggio evokes the genius of this great artist through a brilliant reading of his paintings. Caravaggio defied the aesthetic conventions of his time; his use of ordinary people, realistically portrayed - street boys, prostitutes, the poor, the aged - was a profound and revolutionary innovation that left its mark on generations of artists. His insistence on painting from nature, on rendering the emotional truth of experience, whether religious or secular, makes him an artist who speaks across the centuries to our own time. Born in 1571 near Milan, Michelangelo Merisi (da Caravaggio) moved to Rome when he was 21 years old. He became a brilliant and successful artist, protected by the influential Cardinal del Monte and other patrons. But he was also a man of the streets who couldn't seem to free himself from its brawls and vendettas. In 1606, he fled Rome, apparently after killing another man in a dispute. He spent his last years in exile, at once celebrated for his art and tormented by his enemies. Through it all, he produced masterpieces of astonishing complexity and power. Eventually, he received a pardon from the Pope, only to die, in mysterious circumstances, on the way back to Rome, in 1610. Francine Prose presents the brief but tumultuous life of one of the greatest of all painters with passion and acute sensitivity.