The vine and Caravaggio: the clever use of light

“The taste of a food, always reveals the quality of a wine and exalts it. In turn, the qualities of a wine complete the pleasure of a food and spiritualize it.” These are the words of a man of our time, Luigi Veronelli, an expert about Italian wines who also wrote a famous wines book, and a man of culture who contributed significantly to free the wine from the “prison” of the simple pleasures of the table, making it an object of study and a sign of civilization. Today we treat the wine and its production with the respect that is due to the food, but also to the work of all human intelligence, from science to art. We feel that a good glass of Super Tuscan wine while you eating or meditating, savoring every sip, can be the key of access to a deeper spirituality, a dimension where the senses and the intellect are more free and more acute. It is therefore no coincidence that the famous painter, Michelangelo Merisi, known as Caravaggio, has entrusted to the figure of Bacchus, the god of wine, the task of setting on a canvas a moment of his life, and not a moment of glory but a moment of vulnerability. The painting is called Sick Bacchus, is kept at the Borghese Gallery in Rome, it seems to have been painted by Caravaggio during convalescence from an illness or a serious injury; in it, through the use of mirrors, the artist managed to self-portrait. What we see in the picture? Certainly not the man indomitable, reckless and violent that we passed on the news! Here the artist, describes himself suffering, thoughtful, pensive, holding a bunch with some rotten grapes crushed by now, like to point out that life is imperfect, even when is a powerful God as Bacchus who is looking at it and living it. This painting is an early work by the artist who was then little more than 25 years, just arrived in Rome, where his talent was beginning to be known and to fulfill the promises of a happy and prosperous life. But all these promises something does not convince the young painter, who in fact will have a short life and troubled. It must have been the gift of Bacchus, the wine, to make Michelangelo Merisi so prescient? We’ll never know. Certainly we know that he became famous for the mastering of light and dark areas in his paintings. As well as the vine uses sunlight and darkness of the night to create unforgettable wines, like some Chianti wines or Vernaccia di San Gimignano, so the genius of this artist was able to look into the reality and into himself, turning those visions in the most exciting source of inspiration.