“Burst of Light: Caravaggio and His Legacy,” at the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, presents 34 masterpieces, four by Caravaggio and the rest by 21 Caravaggisti, artists who were inspired by the master. Jointly organized with the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Musée Fabre in Montpellier and the Musée des Augustins in Toulouse, the exhibition’s mix of evocative religious portraits and bawdy genre scenes reveals Caravaggio’s profound impact across 17th-century Europe.
Born in Milan in 1571, Caravaggio moved to Rome when he was in his early 20s, and was soon fulfilling commissions from the city’s aristocrats and churches. His fame, however, was marred by his tendency toward brawling; after killing a man in 1606, he was forced to flee to Naples. Four years later, sickly and hoping for a papal pardon, he headed back to Rome. He died on the