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

Jupiter, Neptune and Pluto

Ceiling painting in oil, 300 x 152 cm
Casino dell'Aurora, Villa Boncompagni Ludovisi, Rome

This ceiling is the only mural painting of Caravaggio, executed in oils for the small 'alchemy room' of Cardinal del Monte situated in what is now a corridor of the Villa Boncompagni Ludovisi. Del Monte purchased the building in 1596.

On his eagle, Jupiter swoops down towards Neptune and Pluto, who are standing at the opposite edge of the ceiling, as if he were making the sky light up with a crystal ball. Any interpretation of the gathering of the gods, seen - unusually - from below, must shift between mythology, astrology, alchemy and even the Christian doctrine of salvation. An oddity in the artist's work, this ceiling painting does not fit into any stylistic category.

Suggested listening (streaming mp3, 38 minutes):
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Symphony in C Major (Jupiter-Symphony) K 551