Bacchus. Caravaggio painting. Bacchus (1595) is a painting by the master of the baroque, Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio.
Caravaggio’s life was plenty of adventures and colors. Was he a murderer? Some books I’ve read about his life said definitively that ‘yes’, he was a murderer. Well, somebody said in a film that famous sentence ‘nobody’s perfect’ and, of course, a painter in Baroque times couldn’t be. His life was covered by the brumes of mystery and his paintings have the legend of a bohemian work in those times marked by the yoke of vicious.
Bacchus is looking directly at us, offering a glass of wine. Yes, we all know –I said it before, ‘nobody’s perfect’- Caravaggio liked to use teenagers for his paintings of angels and mythological figures. There’s a supreme irony in the eyes of this fake Adonis. Look at his eyes again and answer me the enigma: was the master using a mirror to compose the painting? Caravaggio, again and again, makes us falling into the darkness, asking us about the story containing the History.
We can observe the symbolism in the objects, as the baroque painters almost always do, but when we are watching a Caravaggio’s painting we can always discover a little more than the religious or classical story they commended to retell us… there’s something terrible new in the eyes of this kid, something perverse when he offered us the cup of wine centuries ago. Is it from the fountain of eternal youth? Look again, is he challenging us to drink? Of course he is as Caravaggio was challenging the men who commended the picture with his explicit sexuality, with the position of his arm, with these fine fingers standing up that cup of wine that will kill us.
The Death, the always present Death in Caravaggio’s painting is still there wainting again for us, waiting for hour decision. What would be the most honorable decision? Living in a world of shadows, confusion and mediocrity or immersing in a world of fantasy, dream, promises, colors and eternal youth? The cup of wine is there, we just need to take it and drink.
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