The Sacrifice of Isaac is a 17th-century masterpiece by the renowned baroque artist Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio. Commissioned for Cardinal Maffeo Barberini, later became Pope Urban VIII, the painting depicts the biblical theme where Abraham, in obedience to God’s command, is about to sacrifice his son Isaac and is saved by an angel who offers him a ram in place of Isaac.
Painted between May 1603 and January 1604, The Sacrifice of Isaac showcases Carvaggio’s signature chiaroscuro style. Unlike his other paintings, this masterpiece features a landscape in the background – making it unique amongst Caravaggio’s art collection. The painting was commissioned by Maffeo Barberini himself – then a Vatican Monsignor at the time. It was cited in inventories from Casa Barberini in Rome and was later part of Colonna di Sciarra from 1812 until the end of the 19th century.
Today, The Sacrifice of Isaac is an enduring symbol of religious history and considered one of Carvaggio’s greatest artworks that has withstood the test of time. His ability to paint with light made his works stand out amongst other artists during his time and continues to be appreciated centuries after they were created. As a master painter capable of rich storytelling through visual artistic expression, there are few artists throughout history who can stand up to Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio’s skill level – both technically and conceptually speaking.