Oh my goodness, this took me so long...
Reference 1: [link]
Reference 2: [link]
Click here to learn about Caravaggio: [link]
Click here to learn about the painting, Bacco adolescente
So! At a suggestion, I did a Masters study, but while I thought I had some idea of what I was getting into, I did not expect to take this much time on a single piece of art.
As I worked, I was continually astounded at what this man was able to see
, let alone actually paint in such fine, fine detail. The Google Art Project link above lets you zoom in to see an extraordinary amount of attention-to-detail in his work. I did not manage to replicate his execution 1:1 at any point, but that's okay.
I had to make some concessions in the composition for two reasons: one, obviously, ponies kind of throw anatomy out of balance. Some of the cloth and positioning wouldn't make sense without a human body, so I culled and shifted a lot. Two, and this one's a lesson to take away from all this, I used a low-quality reference image initially (the Wikimedia link above) which suffered from jpg compression issues and didn't give a true color representation, in addition to not having a good amount of detail. To be fair, having a low res impression of color shapes is good sometimes, but I can just squint when I need that. The Google Art Project photo was, as is the nature of the project, vastly superior, and I started using that pretty soon after I started, but not soon enough. You can still spot traces of the low-res image's color scheme in certain parts of my painting here, but I decided to mesh the two rather than redoing a huge part of the painting.
I think it's time to take a break for a bit and get my XCOM on, heh.