Giuseppe Cesari was an Italian Mannerist painter. He was much patronized in Rome by both Clement and Sixtus V. He was the chief of the studio in which Caravaggio trained upon the younger painter's arrival in Rome.
Cesari's first major work done in his twenties was the painting of the right counterfacade of San Lorenzo in Damaso, completed from 1588 to 1589. On 28 June 1589, he receives the commission for the murals of the choir vault in the Certosa di San Martino in Naples. From 1591 he is again in Rome, where he painted the vault in the Contarelli Chapel within the church of San Luigi dei Francesi. He also completed murals in the Cappella Olgiati in Santa Prassede, and the vault of the Sacristy in the Certosa di San Martino.
His most notable and perhaps surprising pupil was Caravaggio. In c. 1593-94, Caravaggio held a job at Cesari's studio as a painter of flowers and fruit.