Tag Archives: caravaggio

fortune teller


Did you know that there are two versions of Caravaggio’s Fortune Teller? Yep. One’s in Rome, one’s in Paris. The one above is in Rome’s Capitolini Museum, and the one below’s in the Louvre.


Although Rome’s Fortune Teller boy is more “girl, please!” about the impending doom of his future, but both have their femmes straight up running off with his rings!

Saucy chicks.

Also, great story on the model: Caravaggio’s all “Oh yeah, I’m so good at painting nature than I can pick anyone out of the streets to paint!” (He said, “nature’s given me an abundance of masters.” Ay yai yai).

I also LOVE the top painting more because it was owned by Vincenzo Giustinianionly my favorite patron of Caravaggio. Dude owned this, this, and this (psst: NSFW).

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Keeping Caravaggio’s Boy with a Basket of Fruit in mind when I schedule my spin schedule this week.

The model for the work is Mario Minniti, who appears in nearly ten of Caravaggio’s most famous works. He shows up in some of my most favorite public commissions, incl. The Calling of Saint Matthew, as well as The Martyrdom of Saint Matthew.

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There are a lot of civic duties being thrown around lately (not to mention shade to Rachel Roy), so I figured I should do mine and educate the masses with the four different styles of Renaissance painting.

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you my first (serious) series on this beautiful soapbox.

Up first: chiaroscuro. Chiaroscuro comes from the Latin words for “bright” and “dark,” which is probably the most obvious etymology I’ve heard all day.

If you see a Caravaggio painting, it’s undoubtedly a strong example of chiaroscuro. He’s a Baroque painter that A.) I’m obsessed with, and B.) is famous for his intense use of high contrast lighting that puts most of his Biblical characters off to the side of the composition in a big ol’ shadow and behind a nobody or a horse’s ass.


Here’s Saint Peter being crucified with a big booty in the foreground.


Here’s the apostle Paul (before, as Saul) on the ground from hearing God on his way to Damascus. (Note: There’s SO FREAKING MUCH to say about this painting that it’ll get its own post soooooon.)

Stay tuned, kids! I’m about to provide all the fodder you’ll need to impress your dates in the Italian wings of museums this weekend.

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show ’em some leg

caravaggio mount of olives.jpg

I’m spending a lot of time on this Mount-Olive-in-chiaroscuro thing lately, but HELLO, how can I not with this Caravaggio piece? Just look a the leg Peter’s showing while Christ goes off on him sleeping during prayer. I mean, you look like a goddamn Odalisque at this point, Pete! (Have no idea what I’m talking about? Educate yourself: Renoir’s here and Ingres’ NSFW one here. Y’welcome.)

What’s really great about this work is it was in Vincenzo Giustiniani’s collection, which I wrote my thesis about. Basically this guy took every seductive work rejected from the Church during the Council of Trent, and like, held it for safe-keeping (incl. a bunch of naked, alluring, and androgynous-lookin’ angels). Bah ha, way to go, Vince! Makes super sense to have this sultry leg in the collection.

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oh god.

mount of olives.jpg

So, I adore Caravaggio. He’s smoldering, mysterious, and a criminal…nearly everything I look for in a man. So it’s not doubt that when he flees Rome to Naples in the early 1600s, he’s gonna get a bunch of admirers, like Battistello Caracciolo. Caracciolo steals adapts a very similar painting style, seen here in “Christ on the Mount of Olives.”

This narrative is from the Gospel of Matthew, where Christ takes disciples to pray but they fall asleep on him. Oh, right, except Judas, because he’s all about selling out to some Roman soldiers for that money.

Christ looks absolutely miserable; prolly ‘cuz that angel’s telling him not about the crucifixion, but actually because there’s three more days of the work week ahead.




Caravaggio painted “Judith Beheading Holofernes” in 1598. The woman posing for Judith was a famous courtesan, who posed for multiple Caravaggio paintings.

judith close up

That furrowed brow? Those earrings?! The girl isn’t even sweating this decapitation! Go girl!





Yes. Everything about this. Just….yes. 

What I like most about this is work is the reflection in the large carafe in the lower left corner. Read about it here.

I don’t know about you, but I always see Caravaggio at work in the surface of my wine.

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the musicians


Supposedly all these beautiful, barely-clothed boys are all singing sad songs about the power of love.

Ha! I’m hedging bets they’re realizing it’s only WEDNESDAY.

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