Certain classical-era painters speak to our current moment more forcefully than others. Sporting a transgressive biography -- in which sex and violence loom large -- to match a virtuosic, naturalistic style, Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio is one such epoch-leaping renegade. The four-hundredth anniversary last year of his mysterious death brings out fresh ruminations from Andrew Graham-Dixon, who casts his scholarly eye on the artist's headlong life and work.

April 17: "In less than three years, both GM and Chrysler would be bankrupt, and a resurgent Ford would wow Wall Street..."

Donna Tartt's The Goldfinch is the winner of the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. James Parker calls this Dickensian coming-of-age novel "an enveloping…