I was trying to paint a picture today, but seems the color i was using was just a pigment of my imagination...


Caravaggio has the softest touch of them all. You can feel the rosy cheek, the apple skin, even the finger prying into Christ's wound is soft, and so is the wound itself.



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Caravaggio - The soft one

Before I start this article I have a confession. Just to avoid conflict of interests. I am a "Caravaggisto", or as it is referred to sometimes ” Tenebroso" - A "shadowist". That was the name given to the painters who were influenced from his technique, his vision, his feel.

I became a photographer at a relatively late age, after years in design and art, and around fifteen years after my first group exhibition as a painter, which meant that the influence that I brought into my photography studies was more of painters than photographers. Caravaggio was one of the three painters that influenced me most (I will not disclose who were the other two just so you will have to look for it in the other articles…)

Caravaggio has the softest touch of them all. You can feel the rosy cheek, the apple skin, even the finger prying into Christ's wound is soft, and so is the wound itself.

I have always found that aspect of his work entertaining, as other than his famous multiple paintings of soft dreamy eyed semi nude teen boys holding fruits (pun intended) Caravaggio has a lot of extremely grim themed painting, beheaded figures, medusas, tortured expressions, angels fighting, decaying old characters and other gruesome subjects.
And they are all soft. It is as if Caravaggio was the wet dream of Nivea and other cosmetic companies manufacturing lotions to the dried up masses. He can paint an old man, all wrinkled and bald, almost a skull with no life, and still it looks as if each wrinkle is as soft as a newborn baby's behind. For crying out loud, even the painting of the severed head of medusa could be used as a commercial for a reviving night moisturizing mask.

You got to love it. It was like he couldn’t help himself, he wanted to paint sorrow and grief and shriveled remains of human dignity but his inner softness infected the canvas with a life of its own.

I can understand him. As a photographer (no, I am not that vain, I do not really compare myself to Caravaggio…) I tried at times to shoot things that I knew were 'right' in the eye of the public, or an agency, a client, and always felt not at ease, not natural doing so. I have my style and it feels right. To me. Caravaggio had his style, his colors, his effects and bag of tricks that were his beyond any doubt.
So instead of entertaining, I can understand why his Jesus is chubby with rosy cheeks, why even a cold metal armor, although never losing the 'metal' feel it has, still seems soft.
It is all about the light. And here is where the 'shadowist' name comes from. Caravaggio had his own lighting technique, like a seasoned photographer who knows exactly what works. He was master of the distribution of light, and as he always used only one light source, something I emulate in my studio work, had complete control over the reflection, the texture being created, the feel.

He is a true master. Always a pleasure diving into one of his creations, and he is also so much more than that. Caravaggio is a master to the power of light, not physical power, mathematical power, the power of light, as he inspired and influenced some of the other great painters I admire, Rubens and  Rembrandt just to name a few.

Without trying to be funny, I can definitely say I have a soft spot for Caravaggio. See? Told you he was a master. Everything is soft. Everything.