Caravaggio: discovery of self-portrait in Bacco

Jun 21, 2022

A recent analysis by  Art-Test on the Caravaggio’s Bacchus has revealed the outline of a man’s face in the jug of wine in the foreground that is believed to be the self-portrait of the artist. The tiny image of the Renaissance master is hidden in a carafe of wine in his 1597 oil painting Bacchus, one of his most acclaimed works which hangs in Florence’s Uffizi Gallery.

Art-Test researchers have used an infrared technique called multispectral reflectography to “peer” through centuries of grime and added layers of varnish and have detected a miniature self-portrait. It shows a man, thought to be Caravaggio at the age of about 25, with dark curly hair, peeking out from inside the carafe. He is holding a paint brush and working at an easel. The tiny figure’s nose, eyes and the collar around his neck are visible. The self-portrait appears in the reflected light that plays on the surface of the wine.

This would be the only existing self-portrait of the artist, although some have claimed in the past that the Bacchus itself may actually be representing the author.