1 Caravaggio's ‘Life’
1.1 Biography and art history
The biographical monograph, that is, a book about a single artist and his or her works, is one of the most common forms of art history writing. Biography, as a literary form, applied to art history, is underpinned by the assumption that knowing about an artist's life can help to establish both the significance and the meaning of that artist's work. This is a very common, and it seems a reasonable, assumption to make in the interpretation of pictures. It is therefore a central theme in this course. Behind the assumption that an artist's life and the meaning of his or her work are closely related lies a series of other assumptions and traditions in the history of art.