Lutnist by Michelangelo Merisi and Caravaggio

Lutnist by Michelangelo Merisi and Caravaggio

The work “Lutnist” is also known under the name “A young man with a lute”, and belongs to the brush of his father Baroque – Caravaggio.

At the seeming realism, genre, the image of a young musician with a pretty, almost girlish face, differs in a complex, hidden from the uninitiated content, filled with symbols, accessible to only a few, although the theme of music was very popular among Venetian artists and was in demand among buyers and spectators.

It is worth noting that in Russia “Lutnist” is the only work of Caravaggio’s hand. You can see it in the Hermitage. There are also two identical versions and Badminton House). Three versions have differences, like the different texts in the notebook and the dimensions of the picture itself.

The whole research is devoted to the interpretation of the plot of the picture; the most common is the view that the idea of the work is related to the theme of “vanity of vanities” – the theme of the inevitability of the death of all living things. All real, as if written from life, the details of the picture are full of hidden hints.

The blooming youth of the handsome lutonist is transient: the torn string of lute, the flowers that will soon fade, the fruits that wrinkle and dry up, remind of this. Another interpretation of the picture is associated with the symbolic depiction of the five senses: flowers – smell, fruits – taste, notes – vision, music – hearing, and special weight, emphasized three-dimensionality of the depicted objects hints at the possibility of their touch. Notes in the notebook, lying next to the violin in front of the musician, the artist wrote out with such precision that it was possible to decipher the melody of the fashionable at that time madrigal.

The artistic techniques used by Caravaggio in this work-the contrast of the figure in the foreground and the dark neutral background illuminated by the bright even side light, the emphasized volume of the form, the interest in real details, the lack of idealization – have gained great popularity not only among the artists-compatriots of Caravaggio, but and many of his European followers. “Karavadzhizm” has become one of the leading trends in painting of the XVII century. The work was created for the patron saint of the artist, who at that time was Cardinal Del Monte.

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