Cecco del Caravaggio
Little is known about the life of Cecco del Caravaggio, one of Caravaggio´s most ambitious students.
Cecco del Caravaggio, who presumably is to be identified with the painter Francesco Boneri and who received his name from the close relation with Caravaggio, was born around 1588/90. He possibly came from a painters´ family from Alzano Lombardo/Bergamo, known as Boneri, Boneri di Astori or Bonera. At times origins in Flanders, France or Spain are considered.
Cecco del Caravaggio was in a close, perhaps even intimate relationship with Caravaggio, his teacher. A source from 1650 identifies in him a ca. 12 year old in Caravaggio´s picture "Amor Vincit Omnia" from 1601/02. The boy in the paintings "Conversion of Paul the Apostle", "John the Baptist" and "The Sacrifice of Isaac" is said to be Cecco del Caravaggio. Cecco del Caravaggio seems to be the "Francesco", with whom Caravaggio shared an apartment in Rome in 1605.
In terms of style, works by Cecco del Caravaggio, panels and frescos, are close to Caravaggio´s greatest masterpieces, whose raw Naturalism finds an ingenious continuation by Cecco del Caravaggio.
Nowadays some 20 paintings are ascribed to Cecco del Caravaggio´s oeuvre, which also comprises still lives and scenes with an erotic intention. Cecco del Caravaggio probably made the painting "Cupid at the Fountain" for a commissioner who had asked for such piquancy. Quite daring of Cecco del Caravaggio to use the posture of his "Cupid" for a religious motif of John the Baptist (Pizzi collection).
Cecco del Caravaggio did not only receive inspiration from Caravaggio, he also stimulated others, for instance the Spaniard Pedro Nuñez del Valle, for whom there is proof in Rome for 1613/14, sought orientation with the young Cecco del Caravaggio. Another Caravaggisti, the monogrammist "RG", was influenced by Cecco del Caravaggio as well.
Cecco del Caravaggio was active in the first two decades of the 17th century, nothing else is known about the further course of his life.