NARCISSUS IS AN OIL PAINTING ON CANVAS, ATTRIBUTED TO CARAVAGGIO
was painted approximately between 1597 and 1599.
It is kept in the National Gallery of Ancient Art at Palazzo Barberini in Rome.
Narcissus, a vain young man in love with his reflection of him.
ONE DAY, REFLECTING HIMSELF IN THE WATERS OF A STREAM, HE DROWNED AND THE GODS, MOVED WITH PITY, TRANSFORMED HIM INTO THE HOMONYMOUS WHITE AND YELLOW FLOWER.
Generally this myth was not much experienced by painters. Caravaggio’s Narcissus is very far from the Greek world because Caravaggio makes it current. The artist paints a symmetrical reflection of Narcissus, extremely realistic and which deceives the boy of the myth, and if it were not for his transparency, he could also deceive us. In this case, the artist chose to capture the topical moment of the entire story on the canvas: the previous instant in which Narcissus is approaching his reflection mortally, before falling into the river. The composition of the scene is perfect and symmetrical: the aforementioned transparency of the character in the lower part of the painting makes us understand that the latter is a reflection.
WATER IS THE MIRROR
Michelangelo Merisi, universally known as CARAVAGGIO.
Milan 29 September 1571 – Porto Ercole 18 July 1610 – ITALIAN PAINTER