Studies of Caravaggio

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Studies of the artwork of Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio. The top image is a detail from Judith beheading Holofernes from 1598. The woman was Caravaggio’s favourite model Filli di Melandroni. What struck me was the richness in her expression. First as if she wanted to hate, but what come out was hesitation, disgust and almost surprise or curiosity. Note the slight highlight indicating her jawbone.

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The next one is a detail from Saint Catherine of Alexandria, also 1598. Same model. Caravaggio worked fast. In this painting she is just angelic. Melandroni must have had one of those faces that at all time seem to be just about to tell you something, but never does. The Mona Lisa kind. Full of life and expectation, but silent. Note the 90° angle between her neck and left shoulder, the little pucker separating them, and the shadows cast by her chin and nose.

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This is a detail from The Crucifixion of Saint Peter, 1600-1601. I was fascinated by the voluminousness of the old man’s body, the sharp shades of light on his belly and the distinctness of the lines in the fabric. He seems so strong. The original in its full magnificence is a tour de force in composition, colors, theme and passion.

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The last one is a detail from The Incredulity of Saint Thomas, 1601-1602. Look at that absurd little finger. I found his choice of a surreal anatomy trumping realism brave and intriguing.