The painting dates back to the painter's youth and according to critics it may have been made immediately after his arrival in Rome, between the late 1980s and early 1990s. At the time Caravaggio worked in the workshop of
Cavalier d’Arpino and delighted in painting flowers, fruits and young boys.
The young boy is represented in three quarters and holds in his hands a basket full of autumn leaves and fruits, including apples and bunches of grapes, which have the typical imperfections of nature reproduced with absolute fidelity.
In 1962 Giulio Carlo Argan interpreted these details as a "memento mori", or an allusion to death. According to this theory, the painted imperfections, as well as the dry and stained leaves, would refer to the fading of beauty and the transience of time.
On the left, the light that filters from above plays a fundamental role. The contrast between light and shadow, one of the main characteristics of Caravaggio's painting, allows us to masterfully investigate the imperfections and irregularities of the subjects depicted: the boy, the lush fruit basket, the sleeve of the shirt, the sensual uncovered shoulder, the languid face and shadows.
According to some scholars, the Young Man, with his mouth open as if he were singing, could represent the Bridegroom of the Song of Songs, or it could be a symbolic image of Christ as Love that shows the fruits of the sin (the apples) and offers those of redemption (grapes, figs).
On the other hand, the identification of the model that Caravaggio portrayed in such a sensual way remains uncertain: it could be his very young assistant and friend Mario Minniti, with whom he shared the early Roman years.
Dimensions of the work: 70 x 67 cm;
Facsimilar reproduction of the painting (oil on canvas) in 1: 1 format, certified by the conservator;
Circulation for the world market of 999 numbered and certified copies;
Publisher's certificate and hallmark to guarantee the authenticity and exclusivity of the replica;
The work is accompanied by a publication that tells the fascinating story of the painting.
450th Anniversary of the birth of Caravaggio
September 29, 2021
On 29 September 1571, Michelangelo Merisi was born in Milan. Michelangelo, universally known as Caravaggio, was trained in his hometown and was active in Rome, Naples, Malta and Sicily. Within a few years, his revolutionary vision upset the Italian art scene and had a strong influence on seventeenth-century European painting.
He was a fascinating character not only artistically, but also for the stormy private events, which culminated in a premature death at the age of 38 (on 18 July 1610), events that saw him repeatedly the protagonist of violent episodes and daring escapes. Despite his great success in his life, in the following centuries his fame fell into oblivion.
After a long period of forgetfulness, in the twentieth century Caravaggio and his painting were rediscovered by critics thanks to the contribution of numerous art historians, including Roberto Longhi, who dedicated part of his studies to the re-evaluation of the artist.
Today Caravaggio is considered one of the most illustrious and representative personalities of Western art of all time.
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