Caravaggio: Humanism and Severed Heads
|Caravaggio, David with the Head of Goliath, 1610|
Art historian Troy Thomas offers these observations about Caravaggio's painting, touching on the ways that Caravaggio himself was no stranger to violence:
Caravaggio may have created this painting in part as a meditative assessment of his murder of Ranuccio Tomassoni on a Roman Street in 1606, a crime prompted by the artist's pride, which led him to a duel. In this painting Caravaggio represents himself as damned, as the embodiment of evil. Through his gruesome portrait as the severed head of Goliath he reveals his failure as a Christian, having committed a mortal sin. The young David, Caravaggio's "slayer," shows a pensive mix of compassion and regret.