Wolf, Caroline Olivia
University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
Place of Publication
Perhaps one of the most celebrated artists of all time and responsible for ushering in a new style of art during the Baroque period, Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio continues to emerge from the pages of history and captivate art historians and art lovers alike. He has been the focus of countless scholars and art critics since his emergence as an artist in 16th century Rome. This research will provide a fresh analysis of two of the artist's verified self-portraits, The Young Sick Bacchus c. 1593 and David with the Head of Goliath c. 1610, using Lacanian psychoanalytic theory. By doing this, this research aims to present the possibility that by the end of his life, Caravaggio was concerned with issues of forgiveness as he waited for a papal pardon. One of his last works, David with the Head of Goliath, circa 1610, provides a clue that supports this idea, which will be examined later in this paper. Thus, arguing that while Caravaggio certainly had a flair for drama in both his work and personal life, he also strove to correct his behavior – or at the very least, was remorseful and desired absolution for his sins.
B. A.; An honors thesis submitted to the faculty of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the degree of Bachelor of Arts.
Art, Baroque; Counter-Reformation and art; Psychoanalysis
Caravaggio, Michelangelo Merisi da, 1573-1610 -- Criticism and interpretation
Ancient, Medieval, Renaissance and Baroque Art and Architecture
McGowan, Alyson, "Reframing severed representations: from biography towards a psychoanalytical reading of Caravaggio’s self-portraiture" (2020). Honors Theses.