The Sacrifice of Isaac, Michelangelo Caravaggio

"The Sacrifice of Isaac, Michelangelo Caravaggio

Description of the picture:

The sacrifice of Isaac – Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio. 1601-1602. Canvas, oil. 104×135

The drama that grew in Caravaggio’s work was fully manifested in the work presented, all the more so in its plot. The picture was written for the cardinal Maffeo Barberini, whose patronage the painter took advantage of. He portrayed the moment when the biblical elder Abraham was about to sacrifice his own offspring Isaac, as he gave the order to make sure the depth of his faith, God.

In the shortest possible time, Caravaggio was able to accommodate several intense actions performed by the characters: the father, holding the head of the tied offspring with his hand, introduced a knife over him, the offspring screams in fright, but the angel sent by God stops Abraham and shows him the sacrificial ram.

The picture is so overwhelmed 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 acts of the characters, forcing both them and the viewer to experience the drama presented here even more strongly. Not without reason Baroque painting, the founder and one of the brightest representatives of which was Caravaggio, was specifically inherent in the tension of passions.

But the painter did not just portray human experiences at a particular moment – he went further, deepening them psychologically. So, on the face of Abraham are reflected the struggling faith inside him and fatherly love. The diving landscape in the background increases the drama, but the city on the mountain and the bright distance of the sky underline the successful ending that is about to come."

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