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Saturday, November 20, 2010

Boy Bitten By Lizard

Boy Bitten By Lizard

By Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio
a known Kronik Defiant
painted sometime between 1594-1596

People have postulated all sorts of things regarding the symbolism in this painting. Based on all I have read on this painting (and all his paintings) and also on Caravaggio himself, here's my assessment: The boy is effeminate, homosexual, even down to the flower in his hair - he is Bacchus - who Caravaggio painted frequently - but this Bacchus is wearing Caravaggio's own face... the symbolism as a whole is meant as warning against debauchery and sin. The homosexual interpretation is entirely different and you can read many articles on this painting where they portray it as a homage to the pain of homosexual love among other gay themes. They also love to claim Caravaggio as their own and some refer to him as a a "gay icon"

So.... the reality was that Caravaggio had joined the household of his first important patron, one Cardinal Del Monte, and therefore was introduced to the Cardinal's elite homoerotic salon which was comprised of powerful and fashionable artists, musicians and intellectuals. The Cardinal himself was eventually was tried for sodomy. Then there was the second Cardinal....

Carravagio and His Two Cardinals

It is entirely possible and probable that Caravaggio was a rent boy for both these Cardinals. But was he a homosexual as people define that today in his mind as a human being? In my opinion no - and from my viewpoint his paintings express much of the conflict. In my opinion, Boy Bitten by a Lizard is a cautionary painting, a call to repent.

They are dogs with mighty appetites;
they never have enough.
They are shepherds who lack understanding;
they all turn to their own way,
they seek their own gain.
“Come,” each one cries, “let me get wine!
Let us drink our fill of beer!
And tomorrow will be like today,
or even far better.”
~ Isaiah 56

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