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“Madonna Palafrenieri” - this was the first name of the painting by Michelangelo Caravaggio, which depicts Saint Anna, Mary and the boy Christ. The most dynamically written figure of Mary, the child is set in motion under the gentle guidance of her mother, and the elderly Anna is at a distance in humble peace.
“Madonna with a Snake” - the second name is given to the canvas due to the fact that on it the painter portrayed the snake as yet another main character, personifying the evil principle. The Mother of God with Jesus in the role of light forces presses the head of the serpent with her feet - symbolically trample on sin. The Madonna not only kills the snake, but sets an example for her child, teaches how to deal with dark forces.
Caravaggio worked on a painting commissioned for the central altar of the church of St. Anne in Rome. Started in 1605 and completed a year later, the Madonna was in the cathedral for only a few days. The artist’s bold art of that time often provoked outrage among contemporaries, especially church ministers protested. Apparently, the clergy was dissatisfied with Caravaggio's desire to humanize the divine: to overthrow the objects of worship from the pedestal and bring them as close as possible to people. The master portrayed the most revered saints as realistically and naturally as if he had written the first people he met on the street.
The artist created during the heyday of Baroque - this is expressed in the theatrical dramatic nature of the canvas. The distinctive manner of Caravaggio is a clear contrast between the darkness and the lighting of heroes. Amazing work on light and shadow, unity of action, rich emotional fullness of characters and excessive frankness in their image make the artist’s religious painting original, true and complete.
Due to rejection by the church, the Madonna and the Snake fell into the collection of paintings by Shipione Borghese, and is currently exhibited in the eponymous villa of the princely family in Rome.
Metamorphoses of Narcissus