Recent Discovery Not a Caravaggio, Experts Say

In this “year of Caravaggio” — the 400th anniversary of the controversial artist’s death has seen a major exhibit in Rome, as well as the possible discovery of what’s left of his mortal remains — there was news again last week when the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano reported on a newly found painting by the late Italian Renaissance master called “The Martyrdom of St. Lawrence.”

However, numerous experts have disputed the attribution, and today the Vatican has withdrawn their claim.  Vatican Museums head Antonio Paolucci now says the painting is “most likely a copy of an original by a Caravaggio-influenced artist.”      

Caravaggios do turn up occasionally.  A few years ago, Jonathan Harr wrote a best-seller, The Lost Painting, about the rediscovery of one of the artist’s works in Ireland in 1990.    

Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio (1571-1610) was fairly obscure until the rekindling of interest by Roberto Longhi and others in the 20th century.  He is now viewed by some as essentially the first modern artist; many are intrigued by his troubled personal life, the details of which are mostly preserved in ancient court records, while others are fascinated by the use of strong contrasts of light and dark and the homoerotic elements in many of his paintings.       

At any rate, if you’re interested in reading about Caravaggio, follow this link to a previous post which lists some of Greensboro Public Library’s books on the great artist.

Italians 85% Sure They’ve Found Caravaggio’s Remains

In a brief followup to an an earlier post on the search for Caravaggio’s bones, MSNBC is reporting that the team which last year recovered remains thought to belong to the great artist has completed their analysis and announced they have a likely candidate — but they can’t be absolutely sure.  

‘There can’t be the scientific certainty because when one works on ancient DNA, it is degraded,’ Giorgio Gruppioni, an anthropologist on the team, told The Associated Press.  ‘But only in one set of bones did we find all the elements necessary for it to be Caravaggio’s — age, period in which he died, gender, height.’

Caravaggio (full-name Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio, (1571–1610), is considered to have been the last of the great Italian Renaissance artists.  His works, known especially for their dark chiaroscuro style, are credited with inspiring the Baroque period of the late 16th-18th centuries.  Others are intrigued by his troubled and tormented personal life, while some believe Caravaggio was the first truly modern painter.