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Tabletop (naturaleza muerta, or bodegones)

PhaseOne (4 capture stitched shots 110mb file) Sinar/Fujinon 180mm inspired in Caravaggio painting ...

not what I see on my monitor, but a bit closer look at the inside of the file...

(I made a series of shots at different depths and mount them as layers for complete focus allover the tabletop)

Nicolas Claris

Hi Leonardo
The "natures mortes" are always a challenge !

Though, there is not that much of "chiaroscuro" in yours, it is certainly quite difficult to set the right light… How did you light it?

Is this the painting that inspired you?

Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio - Canestra di frutta - Year 1596

Thank you for posting, since I have been a bit absent, I was beginning to think that people where moving to the other sidewalk : )

You are correct with the painting, It has been sitting for a long time on my desktop and I studied the way he composed the seemingly informal composition. If you see, I used his choice of angle, and the way he placed dark grapes and white ones. In the painting, look at the way he has a fig and a pear in a sort of a "tango" dance. (I did't do that exactly, but used figs for whatever sexual connotation.

The lighting and clarobscurity of the painting and my image is a very good question. I didn't spend a lot of time lighting it, just used one Elinchrome head with a small diffuser (about 40cm square) on one side. If you see the highlight in the painting you notice the light is specular.

My image looks a lot flatter on line after the conversion in PS, but it has some deep shadows.

I want to do another interpretation (copy) of Caravaggio where you can see a person holding a basket of fruits ...

But, as you said, it is difficult, but since long ago I have been wanting to work on natures mortes (and love the name too in French and Spanish)

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief

Interesting that in the painting the fruit have the marks painted in very carefully. Yours however, he might like better!


John Angulat

pro member
What a magnificent image! Your interpretation is testiment to your skills as an image creator. Quite a triumphant return to OPF after a brief hiatus!
John, thank you very much for your post, after seeing my humble thread going down with no reply to buoy it up this is good for my autoestima self steam. I think this is a testimony of the skills as image creator of Caravaggio, don't you think?

What a magnificent image! Your interpretation is testiment to your skills as an image creator. Quite a triumphant return to OPF after a brief hiatus!
Asher, I was thinking in the same direction as you -as often-. It is obvious that Caravaggio wants to show us that he accepts nature with it flaws. The fruit with leafs, and with signs of decaying processes that are part of life. He was looking at life with a photographers eye... now I'm looking at him with camera in hand and saying: "is this what you wanted to do?"


Interesting that in the painting the fruit have the marks painted in very carefully. Yours however, he might like better!


John Angulat

pro member
Hi Leonardo,
You are being too humble. Many of us would have tried to interpret and simply filled the basket with similar fruit (and in doing so, lost sight of the mood). I admire the way you selected your stage. A bit of brown spot on the green grapes, a slightly wilted leaf to the rear, etc.
I think you captured Caravaggio's original mood well.
There has been a strong relationship between art and photography since the start when it was called "The Pencil of Nature" (so here Nature is painting Naturaleza Muerta or Dead Nature with her Pencil). And painters like Corot (Jean Baptiste Camille Corot)

(image redirected for editorial purposes from gutenberg.org)
began painting nature as seen on photographs. Leafs seam to be blurred by movement caused by the very long exposure required by early photography.

The entire industry of miniature portraiture went extinct overnight because of the new Pencil of Nature. Before, all soldiers going to war or taking transatlantic ships would stop by the portrait studios to commission likenesses of themselves for family and love ones left behind. Portrait studios took over.

So, back to the question, what would Caravaggio have had to say about a Mamiya/PhaseOne ? he could have hated it or loved it... don't know really. The Pancil of Nature could have been a threat to his work, or he may have become a photographer...

I am in Bolivia (where my wife is head of UN office), so that is why I had the chance to get cold weather fruits with leafs and imperfections similar to the subject of renaissance painters. In japan all fruit is perfectly clean, homogeneous and perfectly wrapped in plastic (w/out leafs)...

and what does he answers?-)

BTW where are you now? japan? another nice place for "nature morte", how's that in Spanish?

Nicolas Claris

Hi Leonardo, according to gutenberg.org :

Image Inlining

If you want to use an image from one of our books on your web site, feel free to do so, but download the image and host it on your site. Don't use our bandwidth to put images on your site. (Tip: google for free image hosting services.)

Note: people kept inlining images hosted on our site adding much traffic to our servers often without even acknowledging where the images came from. We now configured our servers not to serve our images to third-party web sites any more.

Nicolas Claris

No problem Leonardo, they do grant the right to use the image, they just don't want to "pay" for the bandwith… They say one can upload the image to one's webserver and post the image on any online website.

Al you have to do legally is to grab the image from gutenberg.org, load it on your webserver and create a link here so we can see it…
Nicolas, It is very reasonable from their part, and educational too. I am one that likes to go around looking for images to make a point --I think you did it with the image of the Caravaggio, but probably more carefully than I--.

I think that we live in a wonderful time when knowledge sits at the top wright corner of your monitor (in the google/wikipedia window) but on the other side, it is the sign of the end of the decade to be aware of all matters of cost, including bandwidth....