Michelangelo Merisi, known as Caravaggio (name taken from the Lombard town that gave him his birth), was born on 29 September 1571 from an architect in the service of the Marquis of Caravaggio, Francesco Sforza. Caravaggio’s paintings demonstrate an exceptional sensitivity in the observation of the physical and emotional human condition, accentuated by the great loyalty to the live model and the scenographic use of light, considered at the time revolutionary characteristics in total contrast to the Raphaelesque academic practice.
Particularly restless soul, in his short life Caravaggio faced serious vicissitudes. Among his most evocative works, we have chosen to present the painting “Amor vincit omnia”, a painting commissioned by the Marquis Vincenzo Giustiniani for 300 scudi. Amor vincit omnia
Amor Vincit Omnia is an oil painting on canvas (156 × 113 cm) made between 1602 and 1603. It is kept in the Gemaldegalerie, one of the museum collections making up the Staatliche Museen in Berlin. The title derives from the Latin phrase “Omnia vincit amor”, “Love triumphs over everything”. From an iconological point of view, the painting represents the victory of love over the arts, recognizable here in the score, in the books and in the musical instruments at the child’s feet.
As a model, I pose Caravaggio’s favorite boy, Cecco Boneri. The painting immediately became, together with the Lute Player, the most beautiful and most famous painting in the Giustiniani collection. Iconography of Caravaggio’s work
In the eagle wings worn by Love, it is possible to see those that Orazio Gentileschi, a painter friend of his, soon went to Merisi and of which he speaks in his deposition at the Baglione trial. The model, taken “from nature”, was a boy, a Roman brat who lived with the same painter and who was perhaps his lover.
Still in the iconographic field, the presence of the scepter among the objects placed on the ground would indicate the sovereignty Giustiniani on the island of Chios, ceded after the Turkish siege in 1566, while the starry globe, discernible just under the thigh of Love, could suggest a relationship of the Marquis with astronomy and astrology. Of course, the pen and the book are symbolic indices of literary qualities; the compass and the square would allude to the skills of an amateur architect.
The objects we see on earth, an armor, laurel wreaths, a musical score, chart instruments and musical instruments, signify the rejection of earthly pleasures, but also the many interests of the Marquis Giustiniani, as the presence of a Capital V printed on the score. Love wins over everything
This painting by Caravaggio represents a timeless work starting from the name: “love wins over everything”, a passage from Virgil, “Omnia vincit amor et nos cedamus amori” (Egloghe X, 69) which in Italian translates in “Love conquers all, let us surrender ourselves to love”. Love is the main feeling of life for each of us: love, the real one with a capital A. Try, just for a moment, to imagine life without love. The irrationality of the loving sentiment almost always prevails over reason, it allows us to break down barriers, overcome obstacles that seem insurmountable, overcome our own limits. If this was the message of Caravaggio’s work, we cannot but consider it more relevant than ever.

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