Caravaggio was a son of a bitch. He killed people. He drank and brawled and painted and died. We love him for that, for being the difficult genius, for giving us stories. It’s 400 years since he died and the Caravaggio buzz is up to fever pitch. Everybody wants to talk about Caravaggio.

There is no denying that Caravaggio was every bit as bold a painter as he was a fighter. When you look at a Caravaggio — say, a famous one like “Boy Bitten by a Lizard” (c. 1594) — you feel the impact. The painting shows, undeniably, a boy in the immediate aftermath of have been bitten by a lizard. His face is lit up, his shoulder heaves in upward contortion. The immediacy of the painting — the light, the action, the gestures — makes one feel as if the history of previous painting is being blasted apart…. More…

“Wild night?” my roommate sat down on the corner of my bed and asked.

“What are you talking about?” I had never had a wild night in the year I lived in Boulder, but I was flattered that she thought I was capable of pulling one off, and I wanted to hear more about this wild night of mine. I stretched out in my bed. It came from a dumpster, but it was king sized, and it was a good bed.

“That guy in your car,” she said. “Did you guys have a fight?”

“What?” I thought back on the night before. I remembered watching the dog obedience class in the park across the street from our porch, and then, when the class was over, throwing crackers at the squirrels while they had really loud sex on the porch banister. It was wild, but not the kind of wild I… More…