Bacchus (c. 1597) by Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio

Bacchus - Caravaggio - c.1596

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Artwork Information

MediumOil on Canvas
Dimensions95 x 85 cm
Art MovementBaroque
Current LocationUffizi Gallery, Florence, Italy

About Bacchus

The artwork titled “Bacchus” is a masterful creation by the renowned artist Caravaggio, dating back to approximately 1596. This oil on canvas painting measures 95 by 85 centimeters and is an exemplar of the Baroque art movement. It is a mythological painting, and those wishing to view it can do so at the Uffizi Gallery located in Florence, Italy.

The artwork depicts Bacchus, the Roman god of wine, in a moment of relaxed repose. He is portrayed as a young man with an androgynous beauty, reclining casually while holding a goblet of red wine in his right hand, suggesting an invitation to indulge in the pleasures he represents. The figure is adorned with a wreath of grape leaves and vines, indicative of his dominion over the grape harvest and winemaking. His gaze is fixed directly at the viewer, conveying a sense of immediacy and connection, a characteristic often found in Caravaggio’s work.

Bacchus is depicted semi-draped in a classical manner, with a white cloth loosely covering his lower body, emphasizing his physical form and the sensuality of the flesh. The background is dimly lit, creating a stark contrast with the lighter tones of his skin and the vividly rendered fruits placed in the foreground. This striking chiaroscuro, a hallmark of Caravaggio’s style, lends the artwork a dramatic and dynamic quality that is quintessential to the Baroque period.

The assortment of fruits, including grapes and figs, overflowing from a woven basket, not only contextualizes the deity but also showcases Caravaggio’s remarkable skill in still life. Each detail, from the texture of the grape skins to the translucence of the wine, is executed with meticulous attention to light, shadow, and realism. Through this artwork, Caravaggio presents a narrative of abundance and hedonism, inviting contemplation on the transient nature of pleasure and the human condition.

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