The 'Selfie' Series
Continuing with the self-portrait theme, this month is the turn of my favourite artist, Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio, whose life was as passionate and dramatic as his paintings. Before his untimely death at thirty-eight, Caravaggio painted himself in many guises, appearing in many of his masterpieces.
In ‘The Taking of Christ’ Caravaggio depicts himself as one of the guards in the background arresting Jesus, holding a Chinese lantern up high to highlight Jesus’ face. He also painted his own face as the grotesque severed head of Goliath in ‘David with the head of Goliath’, a gift to the Pope in the hope of a pardon for a murder he had committed.
An early self-portrait by Caravaggio is ‘The Sick Bacchus.’ After falling extremely ill and spending six months in hospital, Caravaggio is said to have used a mirror for this painting to highlight his jaundiced appearance.
Caravaggio also used himself as the model for ‘Medusa,’ the Gorgon monster of Greek myth, and has been identified as the central musician in the masterpiece ‘The Musicians.’