Caravaggio and Bill Henson

Caravaggio's Amor Vincit Omnia and Untitled #8 by controversial photographer Bill Henson can be compared in many different ways, their subject matter is very alike in the way they have both used a young naked male and similar elements. One of the most obvious elements used is lighting, Henson has used very specific lighting to suggest vulnerability, the body is in a dark light with the face slightly more brighter, whereas the young male painted as the Roman Cupid in Caravaggio's painting is spotlit against a dark background which gives us the feeling that this is a joyful painting.   Henson has used Chiaroscuro to create heavy shadows on the subject which increases the sense of drama in the photo. To add to the sense of drama, Henson has used the body to reinforce that dramatic look, the photo is shot from behind with the subject looking over their shoulder. This reinforces the suggestion of vulnerability as we are un aware of what is behind them, what they're looking at over their shoulder and what caused them to look.

The subject looks frail and skinny, whereas in Caravaggio's painting, the boy has muscles and his body does not give us a sense of weakness. He looks as though he is care free and just wanting to have fun in the way that he has one leg up and that cheeky grin on his face as his eyes look straight at us. At the boys feet are various objects, violin and lute, armour, coronet, square and compasses, pen and manuscript, bay leaves, and an astral globe. These all symbolise human activities such as music, learning, literature, astronomy and war. Henson has contrasted symbolism with lighting and his use of the body to enhance the vulnerability and cluelessness within the photo. We are unsure of the sex of the subject, unlike the boy in Amor Vincit Omnia, the young figure's eyes aren't directed at us, we are unaware of the figures thoughts, the nothingness in the background, Henson has used these to symbolise the anonymousness of the figure.