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The Beheading of Saint John (1608)
Located in the Oratory of St. John's Co-Cathedral in Valletta, Malta, this painting marks the start of the introspection that characterizes Caravaggio’s late works. In this depiction of the Baptist’s beheading, Caravaggio lets go of his earlier interest in the purely aesthetic veracity of forms to delve into psychological realism. As noted by art historian Jonathan Jones, "Death and human cruelty are laid bare by this masterpiece, as its scale and shadow daunt and possess the mind." It is also the only work signed by the master, who left his name in red ink among the blood spilling from the Baptist’s cut throat.

© Public Domain