The style of the present painting, so suggestive and confident in its use of chiaroscuro, does in fact have roots in the works of Caravaggio, who clearly left an impression on the young artist from Ostiano. Rather than being a simple, slavish follower of Caravaggio, however, Manfredi himself was an innovator of a new style. His dramatically lit compositions were to have a deep influence on French and Netherlandish artists visiting Rome, such as Dirck van Baburen, Valentin de Boulogne, Nicolas Tournier, and Nicolas Régnier, all of whom would disseminate his style in their native lands. The effect was so marked and immediate that a near contemporary and fellow artist called the phenomenon the “Manfrediana methodus.”
The expressive profile of the face of the Christ in the present work, cast in a deep shadow, can be compared to that of Manfredi’s Saint John the Evangelist in the Pinacoteca Capitolina in Rome,1 and a related figure of Christ, also dramatically lit and draped in heavy red and blue fabrics, appears in Manfredi’s Tribute Money in the Uffizi Gallery in Florence (fig. 1).
1. See G. Papi, Bartolomeo Manfredi, Soncino 2013, pp. 161-162, cat. no. 21, reproduced p. 87, reproduced plate 29.
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