The Divine Eros Defeats the Earthly Eros by Giovanni Baglione, Circa 1602


  The Divine Eros Defeats the Earthly Eros by Giovanni Baglione, Circa 1602

Baglione’s Eros for the Cardinal Benedetto Giustiniani (1544-1621) was a response to the Eros (Amor Vincit Omnia) that Caravaggio had painted for Marchese Vincenzo Giustaniani (1564-1637), the Cardinal’s brother. Caravaggio had drawn a pretty, provocatively naked boy as a youthful god of earthly love to be a victor over the “Liberal Arts”, power and fame. As well as this gave him the features of a boy who had also been a model for religious figures. This was a challenge to his contemporaries’ moral values.

Baglione has Earthly Love thrown to the ground by a divine Eros in armour. A devil with faun’s ears and a trident is crouching bottom left. Antiquity was well aware of the competition between Eros and Anteros for the soul of man. If the two are reconciled, then perfect love is achieved. (Google Art Project)

What is interesting here is the ongoing feud between Caravaggio and Baglione.

Caravaggio accused Baglione of copying his signature style (which one must admit, is apparent in the painting), Baglione responded to Caravaggio by painting the second version of The Eros in which he portrays Caravaggio as the devil (here is a self portrait of Caravaggio if you want to compare). He called this painting (seen below) – Sacred Love and Profane Love (Circa 1602).


The original portrays a devil crouched with his face turned away from the viewer. Baglione’s original also depicts divine Eros’ right hand turned with the palm outward just prior to the final thrust.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s