Painter of the Week: Caravaggio. Today: Medusa. 1597. Oil on canvas mounted on wood. 60 cm × 55 cm (24 in × 22 in). Uffizi, Florence
Caravaggio painted two versions of Medusa, the first in 1596 and the other presumably in 1597. The first version is also known as Murtula, by the name of the poet who wrote about it, Gaspare Murtola (d. 1624): “Flee, for if your eyes are petrified in amazement, she will turn you to stone.” It measures 48 by 55 cm and is signed Michel A F (Latin: Michel Angelo Fecit), “Michel Angelo made [this]”, Michelangelo being Caravaggio’s first name. This work is privately owned.
Michelangelo Merisi or Amerighi da Caravaggio (29 September 1571 – 18 July 1610) was an Italian artist active in Rome, Naples, Malta, and Sicily between 1592 (1595?) and 1610. His paintings, which combine a realistic observation of the human state, both physical and emotional, with a dramatic use of lighting, had a formative influence on the Baroque school of painting.