By Felix Witting
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Extra info for Caravaggio
The painter could unknowingly also repeat the same pictorial gesture or, by simple predilection, favour a line, a form, a type of lighting, or a contrast he judged interesting. This led him to re-employ certain expressive details such as the very sensual incline of the neck of certain male and female figures, seen in such works as The Musicians (p. 20) and Rest on the Flight into Egypt (pp. 28-29), or the details of a flexed hand visible in the painting of Narcissus (p. 45) and The Beheading of Saint John the Baptist.
The figure of the young Christ, who is portrayed as a boy of around ten years of age, symbolically crushes the head of a snake, and shows a close resemblance to the adolescent models of the altar-piece of San Luigi dei Francesi and the Madonna di Loreto. Mary appears more mature and detailed in comparison with the picture in San Agostino, while Saint Anna, as donna abbrunata, evokes the wailing old woman in The Entombment (p. 90) in the Vatican. The pale greenish tone that permeates the painting clearly highlights Caravaggio’s light from above, and removes all familiar warmth from the colours and complexion.
In view of the principles of style inherent in Renaissance art, Caravaggio had to make the expression so pronounced as to maintain the balance as a whole; the three-dimensionality, created with the help of exquisite means of reproduction, moves from the pictorial habits of his previous works towards the incredible. No painting from the Roman School of that time gives such a magnificent effect. Thus, the great deeds of his Roman period seem understandable. The fact that Caravaggio was equally interested in bambocciate, though in a more dignified form than the traditional small depictions of everyday life, obviously induced him to try to make use of drawing techniques, although he did not choose Saint John the Baptist, c.
Caravaggio by Felix Witting