Caravaggio and 'Der Dornenstrauch'

John Bjarne Grover

The article presents a report from my studies so far on certain formal aspects of the relation between Caravaggio's work and my DDS = 'Der Dornenstrauch' (2009-2015). I have earlier discussed the relation between DDS part 3 (64 poems) and Caravaggio's work, see the end of this file. I here expand the analysis with the relation between Caravaggio and DDS part 2 - 66 poems = Vorrede + 64 enumerated poems + Nachrede. (I wrote the 66 poems of this part 2 in the last weeks of 2013 and first days of 2014 as an independent poetic work called 'Unter Gesellschaft' - without any considerations to Caravaggio or other artworks - and I think I had not even studied Caravaggio in any details at that time). See the below scheme for the correlation: The cyclicity which was shown to obtain for part 3 is even more notably present in part 2. Since the number of poems in part 2 and 3 are not the same, a certain displacement occurs for part 2 (around #28 and #57 in col.1). The scheme of correlations below shows 5 columns:

Column 1: The poems of DDS part 3 enumerated from 1 to 64.

Column 2: The corresponding artworks of Caravaggio from 1 to 64 in the socalled 'HI' column - which means that the poem in col.1 applies typically to a certain element normally just above the head of a central character on the relevant artwork. It is a one-to-one correspondence with col.1 and called a 1-step cycle.

Column 3: The artworks of Caravaggio which apply to the poems in col.1 by a socalled 'LO' aspect - not the element high in the motive but more low. This column shows the same artworks but in a cycle of displacement by 5 relative to col.2 - a socalled 5-step cycle. Col.1 #4 shows the same work in col.2 and 3 - and then 1 step down in col.2 ('St.Francis receives the stigmata' on #5) means 5 steps down in col.3 ('St.Francis receives the stigmata' is then #4+5 = #9). It is a regular cycle that goes evenly throughout Caravaggio's work - and this column means a discovery of a certain cyclicity in this work - via my poems in col.1.

Column 4: This is the listing of the poems of DDS part 2 as they apply to the artworks of col.3. As is seen, even this column goes by 5-step cycle through the work of Caravaggio - which means the discovery of yet another cycle in his work - it means a 5 * 5 = 25-step cycle relative to the enumeration of my DDS. Since this part has 66 poems, there is a bump on listing at col.1 #57 whereto three poems are listed in col.4 - apart from this, the cyclicity is regular throughout.

Column 5: This is the 1-step listing of the poems of DDS part 2 relative to the same col.4 - it follows the listing in col.1 but includes the extra 2 in 66 vs 64 poems. For example, for #2 in col.1 (DDS part 3) there are three poems from DDS part 2 - nos.1,2,3.

What does this correlation of part 2 mean?

The discovery of the 1- and 5-step cycles seems to follow this regularity:

Every poem - except for the Vorrede (15 lines) and Nachrede (10 lines) - in part 2 is 14 lines - three stanzas plus a couplet.

The 1-step cycle of the poems of col.5 applies to the artworks of col.3 on the level of graphic elements on the canvas of the artwork divided into 14 slices - and these seem to tend to follow aspects of (sumerian) cuneiform relative to the semantics of the artwork. The theory tells that among the three poems listed for each entry in col.5, the first will mean the painting divided into 14 slices horizontally (14 vertical slices from left to right, that means), the second does the same for 14 slices diagonally from top left to low right, while the third applies in a similar manner to 14 horizontal slices top-down in the vertical dimension.

For the example of 1,2,3 of col.5, which is #2 of col.1, it means that if you take 'The crucifixion of St.Andreas' and divide it into 14 vertical slices from left to right, the first to the left will apply to line 1 in poem 1, the second to line 2 etc. And similarly for the other two poems #2 and #3 - the diagonal and the top-down.

This is an immensely strong theory on the work of Caravaggio - which seems to make much sense relative to my DDS part 2. It concerns the graphical surface elements of the artwork. It seems to be a known aspect of Caravaggio that his works can be analyzed relative to aspects of cuneiform script - and this property receives a principled account in my DDS - in the 1-step cycle.

Then what is the 5-step cycle of col.4? It seems to be the interpretation of the artworks relative to the subjective psychology of the characters in the work. In fact Caravaggio himself seems to have understood his own works in such terms: I refer to his Emmaus 1606 which shows Jesus telling of a 1-step distance between his thumb and index fingers, corresponding to the graphical slices in the lower part of the artwork - the low embellishment, the tablecloth with shadow, the tablecloth with light - each with a slice breadth corresponding appr. to the distance shown by Jesus' hand. The 5-step distance is shown by the person sitting opposite to him at the table - the distance between his hands is appr 5 times the distance shown by Jesus and it applies to the distances between the three subjective persons to the right. This is just the theme of my 1-step (col.5) and 5-step (col.4) cycles relative to the artworks in col.3: The 1-step cycle concerns purely surface graphic elements while the 5-step cycle concerns the psychology on the subject level. In fact his Emmaus 1602 can be seen to show the same distances: His left hand (right to us) shows the small distance down to the chicken or bread on the table and his other hand the bigger distance of about 5 times size - while the man sitting to the right seems to show a 25 times distance between his hands - that is, the 5 * 5 = 25-step cycle of col.4 relative to col.1. It is my poetry of DDS which makes these aspects detectable in Caravaggio's work. (I have not studied all details in this mapping but enough to find the theory interesting).

Here is the listing:

Col.1 Col.2 Col.3 Col.4 Col.5
1-step cycle
5-step cycle
5-step cycle
1-step cycle
1 St. John the baptist (1606) Martha und Magdalena 34 V,1,2
2 Emmaus (1602) Crucifixion of St.Andreas 39 1,2,3
3 Emmaus (1606) Lazarus resurrection 44 2,3,4
4 David with the head of Goliath (1609-10) David with the head of Goliath (1609-10) 49 3,4,5
5 St.Francis receives the stigmata 7 works of mercy 54 4,5,6
6 Thomas The holy Katharina of Alexandria 59 5,6,7
7 Lute player Alof di Wignacourt w/ page 64 6,7,8
8 Concert of youth Medusa 3 7,8,9
9 Peter's denial St.Francis receives the stigmata 8 8,9,10
10 The martyrdom of Matthew Bacchus with grapes in hand (1593-94) 13 9,10,11
11 The cheaters Crucifixion of Peter 18 10,11,12
12 Flagellation of Christ turning towards mid of artwork Rest on the flight to Egypt 23 11,12,13
13 Sacrifice of Isaac Carracci: Mary's Ascension 28 12,13,14
14 Boy bit by lizard Thomas 33 13,14,15
15 Madonna dei Palafrenieri Judith and Holofernes 38 14,15,16
16 Flagellation of Christ turning towards left edge of artwork Narcissus 43 15,16,17
17 7 works of mercy Buona ventura (1596-97) 48 16,17,18
18 Bacchus with grapes in hand (1593-94) Madonna del Rosario 53 17,18,19
19 Judith and Holofernes Lute player 58 18,19,20
20 Calling of Matthew Calling of Matthew 63 19,20,21
21 Jupiter, Neptune and Pluto Salome and the baptist's head (1609-10) 2 20,21,22
22 Salome and baptist head (1609) Burial of Christ 7 21,22,23
23 Regretting Mary Burial of St.Lucia 12 22,23,24
24 St.John the Baptist (1601) Concert of youth 17 23,24,25
25 The conversion of Paul (1602) Jupiter, Neptune and Pluto 22 24,25,26
26 The conversion of Paul (1600-01) John the Baptist (1602-03) 27 25,26,27
27 Ragazzo con canestra di frutta Incoronazione di spine 32 26,27,28
28 St.Gerolamo writing (1605-06) Sleeping Amor 37 27,28,29
28b Marino 50
28a Cavaliere di Malta 55
28c San Gerolamo scrivente (1607-08) 60
29 Martha und Magdalena Peter's denial 42 28,29,30
30 The holy Katharina of Alexandria Salome and baptist head (1609) 47 29,30,31
31 Crucifixion of Peter Birth w Lorenzo & Francisco 52 30,31,32
32 Narcissus Annunciation 57 31,32,33
33 Salome and the baptist's head (1609-10) Maffeo Barberini 62 32,33,34
34 John the Baptist (1602-03) The martyrdom of Matthew 1 33,34,35
35 Birth with Lorenzo and Francesco Regretting Mary 6 34,35,36
36 St.Frances in meditation (1606) St.Frances in meditation (1606) 11 35,36,37
37 The Judas kiss St.John the baptist (1610) 16 36,37,38
38 Martyrdom of St.Ursula David and Goliath (1598-99) 21 37,38,39
39 St.Frances in meditation (1606-07) The cheaters 26 38,39,40
40 Buona ventura (1595-96) St.John the Baptist (1601) 31 39,40,41
41 Shepherds adoration The Judas kiss 36 40,41,42
42 Crucifixion of St.Andreas Matthew and angel 41 41,42,43
43 Alof di Wignacourt w/ page Decollazione del Battista 46 42,43,44
44 Rest on the flight to Egypt Flagellation of Christ turning towards mid of artwork 51 43,44,45
45 Buona ventura (1596-97) The conversion of Paul (1600-01) 56 44,45,46
46 Burial of Christ Martyrdom of St.Ursula 61 45,46,47
47 Incoronazione di spine Death of the virgin Vorrede 46,47,48
48 Annunciation Madonna dei Pellegrini 5 47,48,49
49 St.John the baptist (1610) Sacrifice of Isaac 10 48,49,50
50 Matthew and angel The conversion of Paul (1602) 15 49,50,51
51 Death of the virgin St.Frances in meditation (1606-07) 20 50,51,52
52 Victorious Amor Victorious Amor 25 51,52,53
53 San Gerolamo scrivente (1605-06) St. John the baptist (1606) 30 52,53,54
54 Bacchus with wine (1596-97) Boy bit by lizard 35 53,54,55
55 Lazarus resurrection Ragazzo con canestra di frutta 40 54,55,56
56 Medusa Buona ventura (1595-96) 45 55,56,57
57 Carracci: Mary's Ascension San Gerolamo (1605-06) 50-55-60 56,57,58
58 Madonna del Rosario Emmaus (1602) Nachrede 57,58,59
59 Burial of St.Lucia Madonna dei Palafrenieri 4 58,59,60
60 Sleeping Amor St.Gerolamo writing (1605-06) 9 59,60,61
61 Maffeo Barberini Shepherds adoration 14 60,61,62
62 David and Goliath (1598-99) Bacchus with wine (1596-97) 19 61,62,63
63 Decollazione del Battista Emmaus (1606) 24 62,63,64
64 Madonna dei Pellegrini Flagellation of Christ turning towards left edge of artwork 29 63,64,Na

For example, in #63 of col.1 there is Emmaus (1606) in col.3, telling in col.4 that poem 24 from DDS part 2 applies to the character level. This poem can be seen to tell in the three first stanzas of how the three bottom slices (the graphic 'script', the shadow and light) apply to the three characters to the right, summing it up in the final couplet "In diesem großen Glaubenswissen, / in diesen Träumen auf den Kissen". For the same artwork in col.5 there are the 14 vertical slices of the graphic surface horizontally from left to right in the 14 lines of poem #62:

So langsam scheint der Mensch
er hat seine eigne Seele verändert -
sie war zu den letzten Treuen
der Abendteuers Landschaft verwendet,

zu dessen Übermaß bestimmt.
Halt Maß! Das ist das alles
wenn Sonnenlicht in Schatten rinnt,
wenn alles ruht in der Richtung des Schalles.

Die Wissenschaft versteht sich.
Die Menschen drinnen sprechen
von ihrem eignen Abendlicht
worüber sie sich wälzen, zechen.

Und die Gedichte sie verstehen.
Das habe ich selbst gesagt, gesehen.

The big distance in the left hand of the leftmost man is contained in line 5 and the smaller distance in Jesus' hand in line 6. These slices 5-6 are the following (illustration edited from reproduction in König 2007):

Of course the correlation will be more or less good, and it will apply with more or less precision to various parts vertically. The slice for line 9 "Die Wissenschaft versteht sich" applies to the 'shaft' of the forearm of the standing man as well a to his face with its 'ver-stehend' look. The idea is that this tells of two prominent horizontal levels - the hand of Jesus and the arm of the standing man is one level, the faces of the two standing people another level: The face of the female host of the restauration place applies to slice/line 12. Ideally, this should suggest two horizontal cuneiform wedges, for example of the type 110 or 111 (here signs from Ellermeier 1980, semantics from Hübner/Reizammer 1985):

= 110 = KU7 = lieblich, süß, honigsüß

= 111 = GUR = umkehren, umwenden, barmherzig sein, aufmerksam hinwenden, sich zuwenden, sich abwenden etc

However, it is not necessarily so that one level receives such prominence - it can also happen that one slice is optimal from top to bottom while the other slices are quite opaque - in which case one could be inclined to conceive of it not as a matter of horizontal level but as one vertical instead. The theory tells that this turning 90 degrees is an aspect of formalization of culture towards a new information technology.

See e.g. the issue of 'Holy Catherine of Alexandria' with such 90 degrees turn of DDS II poems 5 and 7.

A further theory could explain the apparent phenomenon of increasing unconstitutional power and control in the intelligence services by the misconception that the reduction in cultural diversity needed for reaching this 90 degrees swap of horizontal and vertical dimension is the same as the reduction in informational diversity needed to make an intelligence abstract from a large amount of information. It is probable that these two things are not the same.

Likewise, does my DDS prove that the received cuneiform decipherment is right? It proves perhaps that those who deciphered cuneiform were thinking in a manner resembling Caravaggio - that is, by the european way of thinking as in the second half of the millenium. It would also prove that Caravaggio was a great artist.

But it would not mean that you can take the surface look of a Caravaggio artwork and see the cuneiform on the outlines there: Rather, if that occasionally can be possible (see this file under '24 september 2021', towards the end), that sort of analysis is what would lead to an 'intelligence' reduction (from a large amount of information) of rather unserious kind. The decipherment by Caravaggio would rather, tells my analysis, go via an intermediate level resembling the poetic structure of my DDS. However, if that intermediate poetic level is ignored, a form of 'flatscreen' totalitarianism is likely to be the result. By that you can perhaps make a machine which computes people's thoughts and choices in advance - but the society it leads to would probably not be optimal for the humans therein.

For the righthand vertical slice in the above suggested cuneiform KU7 or GUR to apply to the Emmaus 1606 artwork of Caravaggio via the last two lines of poem 62 above, I point to the philosophy of stanza 2 in poem 3 in DDS part IV:

Das ist die tiefere Intention:
Zu sehn über eigenen Schultern.
Das ist das Essen: Die eigene Vision
zu sehn in den eigenen Kulten.

In the article 'More on the distance 1823' I discuss various versions of the distance 1823, also relative to the volcano on Geldingadalur on Iceland. I notice the new volcano on La Palma (cp. the 'manus' of El Paso when I entered 'girga'/'kirka') since 19 september 2021 - it is the reverse digit series 3281 km from this volcano to Frankfurt and to Essen, as in the stanza 2 from part 4 poem 3 above, and there are appr. 182,3 km between these two cities. Why should it be backwards 3281 mirrored from 1823? See the study 'Logical order' on the logical properties of DDS part 1, including the mirrored series of chinese radicals (the reason for this would be more complex). If DDS part 1 thereby is about 'logical form', will part 2 be about 'phonetic form' (cp. also Chomsky's minimalism)? I compute the exact ratio of the word 'Essen' in part IV and find the same point in part I (absolute enumeration) - that takes it to poem 43,31 = absolute enumeration 44 = relative enumeration 32 line 7,8 = the word 'innerem Weltenraum' (here for the volcano). I point to the relevance of this part 1 poem 32 [5/10-21: DDS I:32 starts: "Durch mehrere Monaten, / ich sage Jahren, / hab ich diese Wölfin gesehen"] for the part 2 poem 59 for the 5-step cycle reading of 'Holy Catherine of Alexandria' which on the graphical level applies to poems 5,6,7.

I have earlier shown the relevance of the egyptian hieroglyphs for the white stone that emerged from my work with DDS part 3. I here sum up a theory on the nature of DDS that can emerge from the observations discussed here:

Part I =   logical order =   chinese script
Part II =   graphical order (by slices) =   cuneiform script
Part III       =   material order, white stone         =   hieroglyphic script
Part IV =   esthetic order =   alphabetic script

(6/10-21: See also this study).

For further examples from DDS part 2 to test the hypothesis by way of the above table, one can, in addition to the above #62, use DDS II:30 - and there is DDS II:10 in this file. [5/10-21: See also DDS II:59 - 6/10-21: and here is DDS II:16 - notice the anticorrigendum for line 7 at the end of the file].

6/10-21: To see if the logic of my DDS is Caravaggio only, I look up Rafael's 'Double portrait' since it has some affinities with the Madonna dei Palafrenieri of Caravaggio: Assume that the secret of the snake on the floor is that it curls around what in the two ex nihilo stigmas (stigma 1 and stigma 2 - cp. the elder woman as the 'shoulder') bridges right through to the pointing finger: That is line 10 in DDS II:59. Assume, therefore, that this part which is transcendently present in the stigma piece but curled around for the snake on the floor is the hand or arm of Rafael behind the shoulder of his friend (if it is not himself in another dimension - the 'tiefere Intention'), it suggests that the same 1-steps 58,59,60 as for the Palafrenieri can apply - but that, since his transcendent hand is behind the shoulder while on Palafrenieri it is a visible part of the motive, Rafael's 5-step cycle would be 'on the other side' - that is, add 66/2 = 33 poems to the DDS II:4 of the person level of the Palafrenieri work. That takes it to DDS II:37 - indeed apparently optimal for this Rafael on the personal subject level. Hence one can tentatively conjecture from this single example that DDS has not got its form from Caravaggio but rather that it shares a universal level of signification with Caravaggio's art.

I hope the present study can contribute to stop the political terror machine which seems to find its justification in the alleged cuneiform deciperment contained in Caravaggio's art. The inherent logical nexus between part 2 and part 3 is shown in the table of the 1-step, 5-step and 25-step cycles above. Is there such a logical nexus between part 1 and part 2 as well? Could be there is - when one understands that the four case studies of this article seems to distribute over the above scheme in four quadrants as follows:

11 = Noam Chomsky
27 = Yuja Wang
43 = Angelina Jolie
59 = Dagfinn Føllesdal

Finally, a pity it is that my 'Der Dornenstrauch' is not yet available in legal form as a book that can be bought. I hope a publisher can be found who can contact me for permission to make the copies needed for a legal study of these things - without the use of illegal pirate copies from 'intelligence' sources of various kind. My work is not an 'intelligence project'. The present article should suffice for suggesting that the poetry is goodenough to allow for a publication, not the least in view of the interest it can have for semiotics and related studies.


Ellermeier, F.: Sumerisches Glossar, Band 1, Teil 1. Sumerische Lautwerte, Lieferung 2. Theologische und orientalische Arbeiten aus Göttingen 4. Selbstverlag Dr.Friedrich Ellermeier. Nörten-Hardenberg bei Göttingen 1980.

Hübner, B. & Reizammer, A.: Inim Kiengi. Sumerisch-Deutsches Glossar. Selbstverlag Dipl.-Ing.Univ. Albert Reizammer, Wichernstr. 3, 8590 Marktredwitz 1985.

König, E.: "Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio 1571-1610". h.f.ullmann 2007

© John Bjarne Grover
On the web 4 october 2021
Last updated 20 october 2021