C is for Caravaggio

Listen, this guy was WILD. His life was chaotic and violent and teeming with rage and beauty. I can’t even get into it all here. I’d write an entire book, but it could never compare to Francine Prose’s Caravaggio: Painter of Miracles. It’s informative and scandalous and paints a really vivid picture of an artist most of us have heard of but don’t really KNOW. Anyway, this is “Young Sick Bacchus” (c. 1593), a unique representation of the god of wine and ecstasy actively decaying in front of the viewer. Bacchus is wan and fading into the shadows while clinging to wine grapes that are wilting in his hands. (Fun fact about this one: we’ll probably never know for sure, but this depiction of Bacchus may have been physically based on Caravaggio himself.)

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