The sacrifice of Isaac - Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio. 104x135
The dramatism that had grown in Caravaggio’s work was fully manifested in the work presented, all the more because of its plot. The picture was written for the cardinal Maffeo Barberiniwhose patronage was used by the artist. He portrayed the moment when the biblical elder Abraham was about to sacrifice his son Isaac, as he ordered, in order to verify the depth of his faith, God.
In the shortest possible time, Caravaggio managed to contain several intense actions performed by the characters: the father, holding the head of his tied son with his hand, brought a knife over him, the son screams in fear, but the angel sent by God stops Abraham and points him to the sacrificial ram.
The picture is so overwhelmed with emotions that even the angel looks worried, and the lamb with an anxious look pulls its head, as if praying to put it in its place Isaac. A horizontally unfolding composition stretches in time all the actions of the characters, forcing both them and the viewer to experience the drama presented here even more. It is not without reason that Baroque painting, the founder and one of the brightest representatives of which was Caravaggio, was precisely the strain of passions.
But the artist did not just portray human experiences at a particular moment - he went further, deepening them psychologically. So, on the face of Abraham, the faithful faith and fatherly love that fight inside him are reflected. The diving landscape in the background intensifies the drama, but the city on the mountain and the bright distance of the sky underline the successful outcome that is about to come.