St. John the Baptist - Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio. 152x125
Perhaps this work of Caravaggio was one of the three paintings that he took with him, traveling from Malta to Rome in the hope of receiving a pardon from Pope Paul V. after the murder. The artist intended to donate these canvases to his nephew, Cardinal Shipione Borghese, so that he would intercede for the offender before the pontiff. The painter never returned to the Eternal City, having died on the way, but the remaining canvas testifies to the state of mind in which he was in the last years of his life.
Saint John the Baptist, who since the Renaissance was often portrayed not as a mature man, but as a young man, sits lost in thought. His appearance is full of sadness, and this feeling is not dispelled neither by the warm light that floods the figure, nor by the red drapery. Caravaggio began with light and happy mood paintings, then he painted works full of passions and sharp drama, and finally came to the paintings imbued with the tragic sense of being that he created at the end of his short life. The artist’s creativity reflected his own life path.