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Tom Gurney BSc (Hons) is an art history expert with over 20 years experience
Published on June 19, 2020 / Updated on October 14, 2023
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The painting displays Bacchus in his youth, relaxing while holding a goblet of wine and inviting the viewer to partake in drinking with him. He is wearing a draped robe and vine leaves and grapes in his hair.

In the foreground of the painting, there is a carafe of red wine and a bowl of fruit placed on a stone table. The painting focuses on the subject and the humanity of the person he is painting, and omits the landscape of the image to do this.

An interesting aspect of the painting, is the fact that the subject is offering the glass of wine with his left hand. This has lead to the speculation that Caravaggio made use of a mirror while painting his artwork.

A biography of Caravaggio by Giovanni Baglione has corroborated this fact, and that Caravaggio did indeed use a mirror with his early paintings.

At a recent restoration, it was discovered that the outline of a person’s face is in the reflection of the offered glass of wine. It is believed that the face is in fact a self portrait of the artist himself.

Caravaggio was unconventional and focused on the human’s character, and changed the course of art throughout history.

Caravaggio (whose full name is Michelangelo Merisi) is an important artist in the history of art. He was a Baroque artist, whose works revolutionized the way painting was done.

Born in Milan Italy, he worked throughout cities such as Naples, Rome, Sicily and Malta.

Caravaggio’s paintings were heavily influenced by Lombard and Venetian painting. From these two schools of art he learned how to make use of color and understand the realism of popular and humble subjects.

This preference for humble subjects can be seen in his work Bacchus, which was commissioned by one of his patrons Cardinal del Monte.

This artwork was painted sometime between 1596 to 1597 and was meant to be a gift for Ferdinand I, who was the Grand Duke of Tuscany.