It is conspiracy theory time. Did you know the art world is full of conspiracies and mysteries?
This week we are going to spend some time talking about Michaelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio.
The Beheading of St. John the Baptist was commissioned by Knights of Malta as an altarpiece. But many conspiracy theorists believe that this oil painting is actually a secret admission of guilt.
Michaelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio was always known to have a dark, dramatic style in which he used in his art. But it isn’t really his art that has caused the mystery here, but rather what he did.
Michaelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio had an altercation with a young man in Rome in 1606, according to Jon Mann. This altercation ended in the death of the young man.
The rumor is that Caravaggio murdered him because he lost a bet. Some people also believe he was angry over a tennis match.
To be honest, his intentions and the circumstances of the murder are not known.
After the murder, he fled to Naples and that is where he was commissioned to create The Beheading of St. John the Baptist. It would be the only oil painting he would ever complete.
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The Bible doesn’t really provide thorough detail of the death of John the Baptist besides his head being delivered on a platter to a woman who was sleeping with her brother-in-law. Just to clarify; the ruler at that time, Herod, had a brother who had a wife that Herod decided he was gonna sleep with.
St. John the Baptist called Herod out, and because of that, the mistress decided she wanted him dead. So she convinced her daughter to dance for Herod and he was captured by her beauty and asked her to tell him what she wanted and it would be hers.
As you can guess… she did what her mom wanted and asked for St. John’s head on a platter. From there… I think you know how this goes.
The conspiracy is that Caravaggio tried to emphasize St. John’s execution in the way he saw the one he committed himself. One reason people believe this is the fact that he shows St. John being murdered in the street like a commoner.
You tell me, do you think this painting is Caravaggio’s confession?
It would not be far fetched for an artist to use their own life events in the depiction of someone else’s experience. When we turn the TV on, we see people in masks and immediately reflect the feelings of those masks in our own lives.
It is the perfect example of art in motion, imitating life as we live it.
Speaking of masks – CDC says masks aren’t necessary if you’re vaccinated. Yay!
I’d love your thoughts on this painting.
Do you think Caravaggio was admitting to what he did? Or do you think it was a coincidence that his art mimicked life?
While you ponder the question, I want to take a moment to recognize an artist who made a huge statement this week. Ellen DeGeneres has been an afternoon TV staple for nearly 19 seasons and has decided after she completes her 19th season she is no longer hosting her talk show.
She paved the way for many minorities, specifically those in the LGBTQ community and those of us at Her Blaze are so grateful for Ellen’s activism. She will be greatly missed!
Colton Underwood said, “I’m undeniably myself, and I think realizing that is the way to live life.” That’s a lesson Ellen taught us all!
She embraced who she was and encouraged people to “be kind to one another”. So, let’s take a page out of Colton and Ellen’s book, love yourself and love one another!