By Leo Bersani, Ulysse Dutoit
Many critics have explored the homoerotic message within the early graphics of the baroque painter Michelangelo Caravaggio (1573-1610). In Caravaggio's secrets and techniques, Leo Bersani and Ulysse Dutoit emphasize as a substitute the impenetrability of those photographs. the strain among erotic invitation and self-concealing retreat leads Bersani and Dutoit to finish that the curiosity of those works is of their illustration of an enigmatic handle that solicits intimacy as a way to block it with a secret.
Bersani and Dutoit supply a psychoanalytic examining of the enigmatic tackle as starting up relatives grounded in paranoid fascination. They learn Caravaggio's makes an attempt to maneuver past such family members, his experiments with an area not circumscribed through the mutual and paranoid, if erotically stimulating, fascination with imaginary secrets and techniques. In his most unique paintings, Caravaggio proposes a substantially new mode of connectedness, a nonerotic sensuality appropriate to the main interesting makes an attempt in our personal time to reconsider, maybe even to reinvent, community.
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This between-ness is emphasized by the painting’s most impressive single element: the strikingly sinuous arm between the death’s-head and the saint’s head. At the moment Caravaggio represents, Jerome’s intellectual activity is centered in his suspended arm, much as the painter feels his creative intention in the arm he holds out toward his canvas. This is the moment when the brush, like the saint’s pen, is between the traces it makes on the canvas, traces ﬁrst felt as muscular pressures. In Jerome’s arm, Caravaggio paints the passage of intellectual energy from the head to the page (or the canvas); he gives us an image of philosophy or of art being carried by the body.
John and what might have been a collaborative role in a process of reidentiﬁcation. And yet the very immobilization that blocks a transfer of registers (from the historical to the ontological) also produces one of Caravaggio’s most powerful moments of social consciousness. It would be anachronistic for us to speak of the model’s prominence here as a social “protest,” and yet, in a perhaps unin- 46 A M tentionally subversive way, Caravaggio, in allowing his model to play his role unpersuasively, also gives him the freedom to resist his assigned function in the production of art.
The opacity of his deteriorating ﬂesh is also the resistance of a contemporary body to a veritable industry of symbolization. He’ll do anything, but he won’t let us forget that that’s all he’s doing: agreeing, without interest and without rebellion, to do as he has been told. There is an enormous if only potential political explosiveness in this represented refusal, on the model’s part, to be an image for anything else, to play a role that might allow his own miserable life not to be seen. To insist so uncompromisingly on his own corrupted being is almost to proclaim the dignity of his seediness.