Although no conclusive evidence of Caravaggio's sexuality has survived, derogatory accusations made by contemporaries, coupled with the aggressive representation of male eroticism in his paintings, suggest that the most original painter of early seventeenth-century Europe was actively bisexual, if not primarily homosexual.
A poet of dramatic stimulation, Caravaggio was fascinated by the intrusion of the divine into the mundane world; in canvas after canvas he used shifting planes of light and dark to fashion a moment of spiritual anagnorisis, that moment of perception that precipitates the reversal of the action in Greek drama.
The divine, however, can manifest itself erotically for Caravaggio, whose earliest paintings (insofar as his paintings can be dated) depict in the most quotidian scenes male youths whose curls, musculature, and luminescent skin tones made Caravaggio the wonder of his age.Most significantly, in Caravaggio's works the erotic is invariably a part of the scene even when the subject is spiritual intrusion. His religious scenes are often framed in terms of homosexual opposition or homoerotic comfort. Caravaggio, like his English contemporary John Donne, is a poet of erotic spirituality, but, unlike Donne's, Caravaggio's spirituality is invariably homoerotic.[...]
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