Project Description

SELF PORTRAIT AS BACCHUS – Caravaggio 1606

Also known as sick Bacchus, due to the pallid face, this painting is the first of a number of small self portraits made using a mirror. The first of these self portraits was a Bacchus with several bunches of grapes, made with great diligence but in a rather dry manner and ascribed to the period just after he had worked in Cavalier d’Arpino’s studio. There is a similar painting in the Uffizi gallery this one being dated 1593. Art historians have debated at length on the complexity of the symbolic references that, in this painting, are interwoven with the Bacchic iconographY. This canvas was among the paintings confiscated from the cavalier and the orders of Paul Borghese, and it was ascribed to Caravaggio in the inventories of 1693 of the Borghese Gallery.