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"Sick Bacchus" - written in 1593, the early work of the Italian Baroque master Caravaggio. Performed in the genre of mythological painting, it was a reflection of the artist's thoughts about the weaknesses of human life. In this picture, the dramatism of Caravaggio's work, characteristic of his later works, was first manifested.
After spending a long time in the hospital and leaving the ward, the painter, who had not yet fully recovered,, with a touch of inspiration, took out a blank canvas and set to work. At that time, he was short of money, so he had to do without a sitter.
The master painted a self-portrait in the image of the ancient Greek character Bacchus: a lifeless, dying look, pale yellowish skin of the face, weak brushes hold a bunch of already rotting grapes.
Bacchus is one of the names of the mythological Dionysus, the deity of winemaking and vegetation in general, as well as inspiration. Caravaggio’s head is entwined not with a wreath of grape leaves traditional for the image of God, but with wilted leaves of a tree of unknown breed.
The healthy, beautiful, flowering god of wine among the Greeks becomes Italian unremarkable, seemingly serious, painful. The true Bacchus, according to legend, wears a tan, like all the inhabitants of the divine Olympus, and the character on the canvas is completely devoid of bronze coating on the skin.
The artist seems to mock his own temporary disgrace and impotence, the earthly nature of people, and at the same time the lofty ideals of the Renaissance.
Impeccably traced fruits of black and white grapes with a pair of ripe peaches give Caravaggio a brilliant still life artist. The master’s hand is easily recognizable by the clearly expressed contrast of the picture, emotionality, plasticity and laconicism.
Now the masterpiece "Sick Bacchus" is located in the homeland of the painter in the Borghese Gallery.