I want to introduce a new series of posts. I want to discover again old paintings and make them accessible to all.
Caravaggio madonna dei Palafrenieri was commissioned by the confraternity of the Palafrenieri, who wanted to place it on an altar in St. Peter’s Basilica in 1606.
Caravaggio was offered only 70 scudi for this work, but despite the low price he accepted, being in a period of hardship, even those few scudi were needed.
Despite the very low cost of the painting, the work was immediately rejected by the clients for several reasons: the baby Jesus was too big to appear naked, moreover, the Virgin showed a too wide neckline, and then they absolutely did not accept that it was Lena, a prostitute who represented Maria.
Later he was also criticized by Catholics: the attitude of Jesus in stepping on the snake, according to them, seemed almost as if he enjoyed killing the snake.
All these criticisms labeled Caravaggio’s painting as a heretical painting.
Later the painting was sold to the Borghese family for 100 scudi.
Caravaggio (1571-1610), or Michelangelo Merisi, was an Italian painter considered one of the leading influencers of modern painting. His artworks combine a realistic perception of the human state, both physical and emotional, with a dramatic use of lighting, which had a developmental impact on Baroque painting. Caravaggio utilized close physical observation with a dramatic use of chiaroscuro that came to be known as tenebrism. In addition, he made the method of a dominant stylistic element, obscuring shadows and transfixing subjects in bright shafts of light.