Research report 2005 - Bibliotheca Hertziana - Max Planck Institute for Art History
Cupid at the Fountain or the limits of painting
Julian Matthias Kliemann
SummaryResearchers in the 1980s believed Cecco del Caravaggio’s ‘Cupid at the Fountain’ to be ‘perhaps the most shameless painting ever to emerge from the time and artistic milieu [of Caravaggio]’. However, such an interpretation, derived solely from the supposed sexual disposition of the artist, cannot explain many details within the painting. In fact, the painting illustrates amor Dei, the desire for God. If one accepts this interpretation of the painting the composition as a whole unfolds as a highly complex reflection upon the possibilities and limitations of a realistic religious painting.