Giuseppe Cesari (c. 1568 – 1640) was an Italian Mannerist painter, also named Il Giuseppino and called Cavaliere d’Arpino, because he was created Cavaliere di Cristo by his patron Pope Clement VIII. He was much patronized in Rome by both Clement and Sixtus V. He was also the chief of the studio in which Caravaggio trained upon the younger painter’s arrival in Rome.
Cesari’s father had been a native of Arpino, but Giuseppe himself was born in Rome. Here, he was apprenticed to Niccolò Pomarancio. Cesari is stigmatized by Lanzi, as not less the corrupter of taste in painting than Marino was in poetry. (Lanzi disdained the style of post-Michelangelo Mannerism as a time of decline).
He was a man of touchy and irascible character, and rose from penury to the height of opulence. His brother Bernardino Cesari assisted in many of his works. Cesari became a member of the Accademia di San Luca in 1585. In 1607, he was briefly jailed by the new papal administration. He died in 1640, at the age of seventy-two, or perhaps of eighty, at Rome.
His only direct followers were his sons Muzio (1619–1676) and Bernardino (d. 1703). Pier Francesco Mola (1612–66) apprenticed in his studio. Other pupils include Francesco Allegrini da Gubbio, Guido Ubaldo Abatini, Vincenzo Manenti, and Bernardino Parasole.
His most notable and perhaps surprising pupil was Caravaggio. In c. 1593-94, Caravaggio held a job at Cesari’s studio as a painter of flowers and fruit.
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