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Art and Images in Psychiatry |

Caravaggio's Narcissus

James C. Harris, MD
Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2010;67(11):1109. doi:10.1001/archgenpsychiatry.2010.145.
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When Jove, king of the gods, playfully suggests to Juno, his queen, that women experience the greater pleasure in sex, Juno demurs. They consult Tiresias, a mortal who has been a man and a woman and knows both sides of love. When he agrees with Jove, the outraged Juno blinds him. To compensate his loss, Jove gives Tiresias foresight into the future. Thus, Liriope, mother of Narcissus, seeks him out and asks whether her most beautiful son will have a long life. Tiresias ruefully replies that Narcissus will live long if he never comes to know himself.1(p149)

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Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio (1571-1610), Italian. Narcissus, 1597-1599. Oil on canvas, 110 × 92 cm. Photo credit: Scala/Art Resource, New York, NY. Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Antica, Rome, Italy.

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Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio (1571-1610), Italian. David With the Head of Goliath, 1609-1610. Oil on canvas, 125 × 101 cm. Photo credit: Scala/Ministero per i Beni e le Attività culturali/Art Resource, New York, NY. Galleria Borghese, Rome, Italy.

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