Bacchus is an oil painting created in c. 1596 by Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio, a renowned artist known for his powerful and dramatic use of lighting. The painting portrays a youthful Bacchus resting, with grape vines wrapped around his hair and holding grapes in his hand. This artwork was influential in defining 17th-century Italian art, particularly Baroque painting.
Caravaggio’s style of using strong contrasts between light and dark regions gave rise to Tenebrism, which became widely popular among artists in Italy during the Baroque era. Bacchus is a representation of Caravaggio’s unique style, which creates a three-dimensional effect through the clever use of contrasting light and shadows.
Another famous work by Caravaggio is The Calling of Saint Matthew; this religious piece portrays the moment when Jesus calls upon Matthew to become one of his apostles. While not religiously motivated like other famous works by Caravaggio, such as his Deposition from the Cross, Bacchus remains one of the most striking pieces he ever produced.