NARRATOR: Curatorial Assistant, Lucy Gallun
LUCY GALLUN: In this history portrait, Sherman has taken on the role of Caravaggio’s Sick Bacchus, the painting from the late 16th century. It's different from some of the other works in the series that may be more caricatured. In this one we see this mimicking of the original painting much more clearly.
NARRATOR: You can see an image of the original painting by Caravaggio on your screen now.
[ON SCREEN: Carravaggio’s Sick Bacchus]
LUCY GALLUN: The costume consists exactly of what Caravaggio is wearing in his painting. She’s in the exact same pose, clutching these grapes in her hand. Caravaggio’s painting is thought to be a self-portrait of the artist as the Roman god of wine, Bacchus. So this picture has a number of layers. It's a female artist in the role of a male artist in the role of the Roman god of wine. It's a way of reminding us of art history.
This series was one of the first times Sherman took on the guises of male characters. She has this deftness with makeup, with prosthetics, with costume. But in another way, they're not completely illusionistic. We’re always able to remember that this is a portrait by Sherman.