Jupiter, Neptune and Pluto by Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio

Jupiter, Neptune and Pluto by Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio

The ceiling, painted in 1597, belongs to the hand of the famous master – Caravaggio. The current day is in Rome. Unusual is that the painting is painted with oil on plaster. It is worth noting that, usually, oil was written on canvas or tree. Perhaps the attempt to write on plaster was the idea of Del Monte, inspired by the Last Supper of the famous Leonardo. Despite the fact that the painting, written in 1597, was rethought and studied only three centuries later in 1969, it was surprisingly well preserved.

At the beginning of his work, Caravaggio set out to blacken critics who claimed that he had no idea of the perspective, and also to prove them wrong. Therefore, figures in this composition show the most “uncomfortable foreshortening” for work, refuting the statement that Caravaggio always drew from nature. The effects created by the prospect do not have any analog in painting, this ceiling does not fit into any stylistic category. Characters are brave and brave, but they are quite expected from a daring young Michelangelo. However, some experts argue that the author of the canvas probably posed for himself with a mirror that he put on the floor.

Masculinity of the figures is determined by the same solid outlines. The characters in the picture are easily identifiable. Jupiter is located separately from the other two gods. Neptune is represented with a harpoon.

The painting was made for the patron saint of the painter, Cardinal Del Monte, and painted on the ceiling of the villa garden in Porta Pinciana, where the customer dabbled in and comprehended alchemical knowledge. The master portrayed the allegory of the alchemical triad of Paracelsus:

Jupiter – sulfur and air; Neptune – mercury and water; Pluto is salt and earth.

Each figure defines its own beast:

Jupiter is an eagle; Neptune – hippocampus; Pluto is a three-headed Cerberus.

Jupiter stretches out his hand to move the celestial sphere in which the Sun revolves around the Earth.

Paracelsus believed that these elements could be transformed into a philosophical stone, that is, a mythical elixir of life. The philosophical implication is that by mastering the elements and, as a consequence, the material world, a person can control his own spirit.

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