The model was named in a memoir of the early 17th century as "Cecco", the diminutive for Francesco. He is possibly Francesco Boneri, identified with an artist active in the period and known as Cecco del Caravaggio 'Caravaggio's Cecco'carrying a bow and arrows and trampling symbols of the warlike and peaceful arts and sciences underfoot.
The Musicians—, Metropolitan Museum of ArtNew York Known works from this period include a small Boy Peeling a Fruit his earliest known paintinga Boy with a Basket of Fruitand the Young Sick Bacchussupposedly a self-portrait done during convalescence from a serious illness that ended his employment with Cesari.
Many of his paintings from this time are dark and melancholy, such as 'Salome Receives the Head of St John the Baptist'. Several contemporary avvisi referred to a quarrel over a gambling debt and a tennis game, and this explanation has become established in the popular imagination.
According to his earliest biographer he was being pursued by enemies while in Sicily and felt it safest to place himself under the protection of the Colonnas until he could secure his pardon from the pope now Paul V and return to Rome. Caravaggio's image adheres to the conventions of many of the artist's other works, presenting the mythological figure in a sparse interior.
Matthew's life. But even as he fled from punishment for his crime, fame followed Caravaggio. Most likely informed that friends were working on his behalf to secure his pardon, in Caravaggio began to make his way back to Rome.