Carlo Saraceni (Born 1579 – died 1620) was born and died in Venice. He was an early-Baroque painter whose paintings are distinctly Roman in style. His standing as a "1st-class painter of the 2nd rank" was enhanced in 1968 with the publication of a modern monograph. Saraceni moved to Rome in 1598, and in 1607 he joined the Accademia di San Luca. He had French followers and spoke fluent French and had a French wardrobe but never visited France. His art was influenced at first by the luxuriantly enveloping and densely forested landscape settings for human figures of a German painter called Adam Elsheimer, a resident in Rome. There are few landscapes by the artist that have not been attributed to Adam Elsheimer. Anna Cavina Ottani has suggested the influences may have been both ways, and Adam's small cabinet paintings on copper offered a format that Saraceni employed in 6 of his landscape panels illustrating Moses and the Daughters of Jethro, The Flight of Icarus and Mars and Venus.
In 1606, Caravaggio's “Death of the Virgin” was rejected as an altarpiece suitable for Santa Maria della Scala’s chapel and it was Saraceni who provided the acceptable substitute, which is still there to date. It is the only securely dated painting of his first decade in Rome. Saraceni was so much influenced by the dramatic lighting of Caravaggio together with his naturalistic detail, monumental figures, and momentary action, so much so that he is numbered among the first of the "Caravaggisti" or "tenebrists." Examples of this style can be seen in the Head of Holofernes and the candlelit Judith.