By Alte Pinakothek, Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen
Alte Pinakothek, Bavarian State Painting Collections
Good Luck (1594/1595) by Caravaggio (Michelangelo Merisi)Musei Capitolini
The "Fortune Teller" is an early work by Caravaggio, in which he deals very innovatively with the motif of the palm reading fortune teller: she has never before been the sole subject of a picture.
The girl prophesies the young man's fate and, with the gestures of her middle finger stroking the palm of his hand, hints at the promise of a sensual adventure. On closer inspection, one realizes that she is secretly sliding the ring off his finger: the hopeful youngster will be left a betrayed man.
The young woman is not only a fortune teller, her clothes also identify her as a "Zingara", literally translated as a gypsy. In addition to the turban and the scarf, reading palms was also one of their distinguishing features.
The young man in elegant clothes looks curiously at the fortune teller, his ears are reddened with embarrassment. He succumbs to the charm of the woman in whose eyes he believes to recognize an erotic prophecy.