He’s one of the biggest masters of the Baroque. Caravaggio (1571 – 1610) dominated with great virtuosity the “chiaroscuro” technique, style that emphasizes the dark parts with black paint and the bright parts with white paint in the composition. Through the use of shadows and lights the illusion of depth and volume of the portrayed subjects is created. Below we’ll show you some of most emblematic his paintings:
The pose in which the god of wine is presented in this painting reminds us of a portrait. It’s very probable that Caravaggio would present himself in the identity of the Greek god. The portrait away from Bacchus’ idealizations –which isn’t presented as a fat man or a handsome young man–, shows the tendency the Italian painter has for naturalness and spontaneity. The elements that surround the composition, fruits as well as wine, show the sybarite passion and attitude that the subject has.
Judith Beheading Holofernes (1598)
A painting that impresses due to the depicted scene crudeness and horror, regardless of the fact that decapitation wasn’t a rare practice by the end of the XVI century. The realism that Caravaggio accomplishes in the human figures gives great drama to the canvas. Judith’s decided expression contrasts with the tormented face of the tyrant Holofernes. By her side, an immobile servant waits the decapitated member.
Saint Jerome Writing (1605 approx)
The saint of the Christian mythology, Saint Jerome, is presented as a thin old man who has suffered a long period of deprivation and abstinence. Everything in his figure tells us about a life full of experience: from the abundant beard to the diverse wrinkles. The red robe he’s wearing depicts the position Saint Jerome had in the ecclesiastic hierarchy, the one of a cardinal. The skull, mortality symbol, observes the lonely man in silence.
Christ at the Column (1606 approx)
A piece of art that served as a model for countless paintings, “Christ at the Column” shows the thematic of the passion of Christ, specifically, the moment of torture before the crucifixion. The image of the suffering Christ, half-naked and sorrowful, stands by its moving beauty. The contrasts, a very used theme by Caravaggio, are noticeable in the lackeys that hurt the martyr. The use of light accentuates the drama in the picture.
David with the Head of Goliath (1609 approx)
Weeks before passing away in loneliness and sorrow due to his illness, Caravaggio completed this magnificent work. The last years of the artists were characterized by the suffering he experimented. He was accused of murdered, which made him live running away of the authorities. The depicted scene shows the outcome of the unfair fight between David and Goliath. The sword’s inscription and the expression of the young winner symbolize the humbleness, while his defeated adversary– that shows some similarity to Caravaggio– represents the arrogance. It’s believed that this painting sought the pardon of the artist’s father.