At a time when most other Italian artists followed the elegant balletic conventions of late Mannerism, Caravaggio did something different. He painted the celestial stories as if they were taking place in the present day, often employing live models and depicting them in modern dress.
Caravaggio used gritty details, like dirty feet and ragged clothing, to emphasize the plight of Christ and his followers. He also developed a new type of chiaroscuro, among other unique techniques. All this helped influence Western art and not just painting.
Caravaggio's work significantly influenced many other artists, including Rembrandt, Diego Velázquez, and Théodore Géricault. His dramatic use of staging and his innovative approach to light and shade inspired many film directors, including Pier Paolo Pasolini and Martin Scorsese.