Caravaggio (1571 - 1610): Bacchus, c,1596,Oil on canvas, 956/6/2021, 4:32:28 PM
Caravaggio (1571 - 1610): Bacchus, c,1596,Oil on canvas, 95 x 85 cm, Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence Caravaggio's 'Bacchus' no longer appears to us like an ancient god, or the Olympian vision of the High Renaissance and Mannerism. Instead, Caravaggio paints a rather vulgar and effeminately preened youth, who turns his plump face towards us and offers us wine from a goblet held by pertly cocked fingers with grimy nails. This is not Bacchus himself, but some perfectly ordinary individual dressed up as Bacchus, who looks at us rather wearily and yet alertly. The boy is dressed not in the flimsy shirt of a contemporary musician but in heavier stuff, reminiscent of the carved drapery in ancient Roman sculpture. His hair, surely a wig, is crowned with a wreath of black and white grapes and their leaves, and he offers the viewer a glass kylix of red wine, the cup of pleasure. Caravaggio's inspiration was one of the many surviving statues of the Emperor Hadrian's beloved, Antinous, who was often represented as Bacchus; perhaps it was the full-length statue of the god that belonged to the Marchese Giustiniani, and was engraved about 1630.