What does a Caravaggio boy mean
# 1Tag1Text zu: Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio 'Boy with a Fruit Basket', around 1593
This is Mario Minniti. The sixteen-year-old orphan has just arrived in Rome and there came across the brilliant and impetuous Michelangelo Merisi, who, when he was just twenty, moved here from Milan. Minniti wants to be a painter, he has talent, and he moves from studio to studio in search of a master. Finally, in Giuseppe Cesari's workshop, the two meet with serious consequences. Merisi is immediately fascinated by the androgynous beauty of the young man, and Minniti is captivated by a wild character, the impulsive, dangerous, sensual, fun-loving and constantly over-riding Michelangelo Merisi, known as Caravaggio. He clings to his heels, and the following years will be a dangerous and extravagant feast for the senses and a lesson in painting. For Caravaggio, the boy becomes the model of his idea of perfection in staging the body in light and shadow.
With Master Cesari, Caravaggio practices flowers and fruits. But what really excites him, what challenges him, is playing with the subtle narrative, the spectacle of the earthly as an example of the heavenly, and his ego. You let him play, make fun of him. Here, the boy with the fruit basket, for example: everyday life and beauty, transience and sensuality, light and shadow. The fruit basket as an exaggerated reminiscence of the daily task, the wasteland of the eternally the same.
And this youth, whose sight, whose wild hair, dreamy eyes, sensual mouth, the free shoulder area and the firm grip of the right hand puts everything in the shade, lets forget all transience. This bust emerges from the spotlight, the strong contrast between light and dark in the background of the painting, and in the staging it draws all the attention to itself and the viewer to this day. How lively this body appears, how accidentally this snapshot of a movement, a slight twist of the neck, a slight inclination of the head, a slight opening of the mouth, as if a word was being spoken in the room towards us. And how flat, how lifeless and artificially perfect, on the other hand, are the fruits and leaves in the woven basket. The light may fall on them too, but only this boy, Mario Minniti, really gets it to shine. When Caravaggio fled Rome headlong in 1606, he too left the city and went to Sicily. He supports his master on all wrong turns and escapes and will be a role model for his own art throughout his life. Michelangelo Merisi, called Caravaggio, died in 1610 at the age of only 38. Mario Minniti will outlive him by thirty years.
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