Masterpiece Stories

Masterpiece Story: Amor Vincit Omnia by Caravaggio

Zuzanna Stańska 12 December 2023 min Read

Virgil’s famous saying amor vincit omnia means “love conquers all.” Famous Baroque painter, Caravaggio, clearly inspired by the famous sentence painted this young and reckless Cupid. He triumphs over science, music, fame, and power – all these symbols are scattered at his feet. The boy has eagle wings and is captured in motion as if sitting down or climbing down from a table covered in cloth. This daring depiction is one of the highlights of the Gemäldegalerie collection which you can visit it in Berlin.

Caravaggio, Amor Vincit Omnia, 1602, Gemäldegalerie; Caravaggio Amor

Cupid’s position indicates a homoerotic note in the painting. His legs are spread, so that his genitals are exposed almost in the center of the composition. There is a striking resemblance to Michelangelo’s The Genius of Victory, which is now at the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence. The subject, as well as a naked depiction of a young male, was common for the age.

Caravaggio Amor, Michelangelo, The Genius of Victory, 1532–1534

Caravaggio painted directly from a live model. The painter Orazio Gentileschi, whom you might know as the father of Artemisia Gentileschi, lent Caravaggio the props (such as wings) to use in the painting. This allows the scholars to precisely date the work.

The painting proved to be a great success among Rome’s gentiluomini and litterati. The interesting fact is that it was not initially entitled Amor Vincit Omnia. The Virgilian sentence was first linked to the painting by the critic Giovanni Pietro Bellori, who mentioned the work in his biography of Caravaggio from 1672.

Get your daily dose of art

Click and follow us on Google News to stay updated all the time


Masterpiece Stories

Masterpiece Story: The Starry Night by Vincent van Gogh

During his stay in the Saint-Rémy hospital in southern France, Vincent van Gogh created The Starry Night. It became one of his most recognizable...

Valeria Kumekina 24 March 2024

Jan van Eyck, Ghent Altarpiece, 1432, detail Masterpiece Stories

Ghent Altarpiece: The Charmed Life of the Mystic Lamb

Come with us to visit the Van Eyck brothers, their monumental Ghent Altarpiece, and explore 500 years of intrigue, theft and revolutionary painting techniques.

Candy Bedworth 21 March 2024

Jean-François de Troy, Diana and Actaeon, 1734, Kunstmuseum, Basel, Switzerland. Detail. Masterpiece Stories

Masterpiece Story: Diana and Actaeon by Jean-François de Troy

Diana and Actaeon by Jean-François de Troy is a French masterpiece blending the exuberance of Rococo sensuality with the intellectualism of...

James W Singer 25 March 2024

Masterpiece Stories

Lost Masterpieces: Leda and the Swan by Michelangelo

Throughout art history, numerous works have been lost, leaving only the stories as a testimony to their greatness. Among these lost treasures is...

Javier Abel Miguel 8 April 2024