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The Cover
September 16, 2009


JAMA. 2009;302(11):1148. doi:10.1001/jama.2009.1256

Lute-Player (cover), which was painted by Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio (1571-1610) for his patron, Cardinal Francesco Maria Del Monte, is remarkable not only for its strong contrasts of light and shadow and the expressiveness of the lute player's face and hands, but also for the positioning of the lute, viewed end-on. To make the lute appear to be three-dimensional, Caravaggio has used the technique of foreshortening. Foreshortening alters the proportions of an object to make the part that is nearer the eye appear larger and the part that is further from the eye appear smaller. Shapes with complex curves, such as a lute, are particularly difficult to visualize and paint in such a way that they appear to have a realistic volume.

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