Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Narcissus in Rome

Michelangelo Merisi Caravaggio painted a Narcissus. It is in the Barberini Gallery. Well worth a visit while in Rome. There are many great paintings at the Barberini, but this is one of my favorites.

Narcissus was a proud and beautiful youth. So beautiful that he didn't want to give himself to any lover. One of his spurned lovers yelled, "may Narcissus love one day so, and himself not win over the creature whom he loves." Nemesis, the god of vengeance, heard the cry and granted it. After a hunt in the woods Narcissus came upon a still dark pond and fell in love with his own reflection. He died gazing at his beauty and a flower grew in his place.
Art scholars question the authenticity of this work. Is it or isn't it a Caravaggio? Until they prove otherwise I'm giving him credit.
The image is fantastic. Caravaggio perfectly captures the emotion of Narcissus. He longingly gazes at himself, the water has an inky color that repressent his anguished soul.

The Narcissus flower grows on the water's edge and is named in honor of this Greek youth.

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