Self Portrait as Active Participant

Caravaggio (1573-1610)
Painting: David with the Head of Goliath, c.1610

David and Goliath is a mythological story, which tells of a young boy called David who defeated the giant, Goliath, with his sling shot. Artists often painted this story, however, in this instance Caravaggio has used himself as the model for both the giant and for the young boy looking distastefully at the decapitated head.

This is seen as one of the first psychoanalytical paintings as Caravaggio painted this after he murdered a man and had to flee Rome.


Michelangelo (1475-1564)
Painting: The Last Judgement,
1536-1541, Sistine Chapel, Rome

After Michelangelo completed the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, he was then commissioned by Pope Julius II to paint the wall behind the altar. Michelangelo chose to depict the day of Judgement on this wall in a mannerist style. The figures are more muscular and their poses more contorted than those painted on the ceiling in the High Renaissance style.

At the centre of the work is a depiction of Christ and beside him is St Peter holding the flayed skin of St Bartholomew. Some believe that Michelangelo depicted himself in the flayed skin of St Bartholomew based on his feelings of some contempt towards the painting. 


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