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Fruit Basket - Michelangelo da Caravaggio. Oil on Canvas, 46x64 cm
Michelangelo da Caravaggio at the age of 22, without knowing it, became the founder of an innovative genre in painting - a still life (it was he, not the Dutch masters!). The artist depicted a basket full of earthly fruits: here are also brushes of ripe grapes and many fig trees, there are apples and pears. The fruits are picked together with the leaves and are not embellished at all, traces of wilting and decay are already visible, part of the leaves turns yellow, dries and wraps up ... everything is natural, as in nature.
The picture is naturalistic to an illusion: the edge of the basket and fruits hang from the table and, as it were, “fall out” onto the viewer - we become accomplices of the image. A lifeless background with a complete lack of details, and occupying most of the space, completes the plan of the author.
In this work, Caravaggio is just like in life - everything flows and everything changes, inevitable decay and death replace the magnificent freshness. The master does not stop only at the most accurate image of nature, the intense play of chiaroscuro is noticeable here for the first time: the bright light from the top left smoothly passes into the shadow from the bottom right - such a recognizable later Caravaggio!
The Master showed such close attention to a still life in his works more than once: “A Boy Bitten by a Lizard” in 1595, “Bacchus” in 1595, and “Dinner at Emmaus” in 1601.
Caravaggio in his creations is not a simple contemplator of nature, he is the creator of the brightest pictorial language, his work depicting the struggle of life and death, seeking truth and justice.