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In 1608, the artist Caravaggio, while in Messina, makes acquaintance with a noble merchant. A wealthy merchant orders him a picture on a free topic. The painter chose for the canvas the biblical plot of the resurrection of Lazarus.
Dark cave, several men hold the body, lying earlier in the coffin for four days. Caravaggio preferred to work from nature, so for a new picture, he found people to pose for. Moreover, according to legend, for reliability, he ordered a body to be dug up the other day of the deceased youth. The hired people flatly refused to approach the corpse, but the artist nevertheless insisted on collective posing, even in the thirst for artistic expression, threatening to sitters with a knife.
A characteristic feature of Caravaggio's painting is the bright streams of light that cut through the impenetrable black void. Like a spotlight, rays of light line the surface of the skin of naked Lazarus, spotlight the clothes, faces and limbs of the stage participants: Christ and the people mourning for the dead. It seems that this golden unearthly light is about to return life to Lazarus. In the background in the dark, the grave diggers, who so often saw death, turn their faces away so as not to see again an oppressive sight.
On the ground are the bones and skull of an unnamed long-standing death victim. And above - the living palm of Lazarus, stretched to a warm stream of light, surrenders, responding to the command of Christ. Relatives of the resurrected have not yet had time to fully understand what happened, grief, anxiety, confusion on their faces.
The story goes that a wealthy customer was dissatisfied with the painter’s canvas. Therefore, it was presented to the brotherhood of the crusaders. For all the time, “Resurrection of Lazarus” survived several earthquakes, after which the painting was successfully restored for the Messina Gallery.
In the famous masterpiece of religious painting, Caravaggio appears before us as a preacher of an indestructible faith in the eternity of life.
Kazimir Malevich Black Circle