“Sick Bacchus” – written in 1593, the early work of the Italian Baroque master Caravaggio. Made in the genre of mythological painting, it was a reflection of the artist’s thoughts about the weakness of human life. In this picture, the drama of Caravaggio, typical of his late works, was first revealed.
Having stayed for a long time in the hospital and left the ward, the painter, who had not yet fully recovered, under the flow of inspiration, took out a clean canvas and set to work. At that time, he was constrained in funds, so I had to do without a sitter.
The master wrote a self-portrait in the image of the ancient Greek character Bacchus: a lifeless, extinct gaze, pale yellowish skin of the face, weak hands hold a bunch of already rotting grapes.
Bacchus is one of the names of the mythological Dionysus, the deities of winemaking and vegetation in general, as well as inspiration. The head of Caravaggio is not entwined with a wreath of grape leaves, traditional for the image of God, but with faded leaves of a tree of unknown breed.
A healthy, beautiful, blooming god of wine among the Greeks becomes, from an Italian, unremarkable, seemingly serious, painful. The original Bacchus, according to legend, wears a tan, like all residents of the divine Olympus, and the character on the canvas is completely devoid of bronze on the skin.
The artist supposedly sneers at his own temporary disgrace and powerlessness, over the earthly nature of people, and at the same time over the lofty ideals of the Renaissance.
Immaculately traced fruits of black and white grapes with a pair of ripe peaches give Caravaggio a brilliant artist of still lifes. Easily recognizable master’s hand by clearly expressed contrast of the picture, emotionality, plasticity and conciseness.
Nowadays the masterpiece “Sick Bacchus” is in the homeland of the painter in the Borghese Gallery.