CARAVAGGIO
(b. 1571, Caravaggio, d. 1610, Porto Ercole)

Sacrifice of Isaac

1597-99
Oil on canvas, 116 x 173 cm
Barbara Piasecka Johnson Collection, Lawrenceville

The landscape has faded out. Against a dark background, the story is pieced together out of figures. As if he had clambered up the mountain behind father and son, the angel brings them the ram, and speaks to Abraham, who is already relaxing his grip on Isaac's hair. Whether this colorful picture, with its rich lighting, was really painted by Caravaggio, is open to doubt.

This painting came to light in the 1980s. It was attributed to Caravaggio, but the attribution has yet to gain wide support. The painting's figural style and pictorial execution are closely related to the St John the Baptist in Toledo, a work which is alternatively attributed to Bartolomeo Cavarozzi.