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Caravaggio is best known for rendering biblical figures in a realistic light (and for his swaggering braggadocio). His work was all but forgotten until the early 20th century. Since then, Rome has essentially become Caravaggio central.
In past years, there have been many illuminating Caravaggio exhibits in Rome, namely the one held at the Ala Mazzoniana exhibition space at Termini Station titled, “Caravaggio: Masterpieces in Private Collections”. Unfortunately, they all charge a fee.
But, three churches in Rome provide free access to Caravaggio’s infamous works. The Crucifixion of St. Peter and The Conversion of St. Paul on the Road to Damascus are housed in Santa Maria del Popolo, an Augustinian church in Piazza del Popolo. Near Piazza Navona, the Madonna dei Pellegrini can be viewed at the church of Sant’Agostino, and three scenes from the life of St. Matthew—one of Caravaggio’s favorite apostles and muses— including The Calling of St. Matthew, are on display at San Luigi dei Francesi.