Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio
Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Antica, Rome
Narcissus rejected the love of all, including the love of the nymph Echo and for his cruelty was condemned by the god Nemesis to drown while admiring his own reflection. Employing dramatic naturalism, Caravaggio places the lone figure in a strong, clear light, close to the frame to bring the viewer from the real world to this mythological event. Narcissus’ hand is about to cup the water. The artist probably painted directly on the canvas without preliminary drawings.