(b. 1571, Caravaggio, d. 1610, Porto Ercole)
Oil on canvas, 118 x 81 cm
The suntan revealed in this upright picture on the old man's face and hands, in contrast to the light colour on his arms and upper body, indicates that Caravaggio was again studying from a living model. Strong shadows disturb the structural features of the upper body. With only a piece of white drapery around his loins, and his Cardinal-red mantle slung across his legs, the old man has his left hand resting on his mantle, which also covers the table, whilst he is pensively stroking his beard with his right hand. Although his head is lowered, he is not looking at the skull in front of him. That said, the skull's empty eye-sockets appear to be staring at him.