The Crucifixion of St. Peter by Michelangelo Merisi and Caravaggio

The Crucifixion of St. Peter by Michelangelo Merisi and Caravaggio

Caravaggio is considered one of the best masters in history, besides this is the most famous representative of the Baroque style that superseded Mannerism and revolutionized the religious painting of Rome, and then of Naples. Despite the fact that the artist was a disgusting man, which many contemporaries avoided, he stands among the most influential Italian Baroque painters of the 17th century.

The first major works of Michelangelo became religious paintings for the church of San Luigi, which the master was instructed to create in 1599. In 1601, for the Church of Santa Maria del Popolo, works “Appeal on the way to Damascus” and “Crucifixion of St. Peter” are created. Together, the four masterpieces make Caravaggio an authoritative and influential painter in Rome.

Some church authorities considered these, and subsequent works as vulgar and wicked. “Assumption of the Mother of God,” for example, refused to accept, because of the ugly appearance of the Virgin Mary.

The crucifixion of Peter hangs in front of his sister “The Way to Damascus.” St. Peter and Paul are closely connected with each other, being one of the founders of the Christian church. In the altar, between these two paintings, hangs the altarpiece of the Blessed Virgin Mary of the authorship of Annibale Carracci. The dome of the chapel is decorated with frescoes designed by Caravaggio, but executed by one of his pupils.

The painting depicts the martyrdom of St. Peter. It is worth noting that Peter insisted on being crucified from the bottom up, not to “imitate” Jesus Christ.

As in many other works, Caravaggio deprives the picture of all unnecessary details and creates a rather dark background, thereby focusing all attention on the figure of Peter. In addition, it is worth noting the exceptional realism and naturalness of the characters. It is believed that the master achieved this effect due to observation of ordinary people on the street, and not on beaten angles and poses of models in the studio. The famous use of chiaroscuro gives the figures a three-dimensionality. It is the use of strong contrasts of light is one of the distinctive elements of the style of Karavagism. This method allows the author to create a more dramatic canvas.

The view of three middle-aged Romans is not directed at the viewer. The crime being committed is pressing on them. Peter’s elderly body is still muscular enough.

At the heart of the picture is a set of diagonal lines created by a wooden cross, the rope on which it rises, hands and feet of the bottom figure. The colors are muffled, as befits such a murder. A terrible feature of the picture is the fact that Peter’s body is not killed. In a short time, he will remain hanging headfirst in anticipation of not violent death.

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