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New Caravaggio?

Updated on July 22, 2010

The Vatican newspaper L'osservatore romano gave the news on July 18th, 2010. Apparently, a new painting by the Milanese artist Michelangelo Merisi from Caravaggio (commonly known as Caravaggio) has been found. (Here is the pdf of the original article detailing the discovery, in Italian)

What is portrayed in the painting? The subject is the martyrdom of Saint Lawrence, and the painting portrays a young man laying on a wooden board, in flames. The young man is screaming from physical torment and agony. His left arm is stretched forward in the direction of the spectator, as though he was in a desperate and vain attempt to escape torture.

The newly found painting, probably by Caravaggio. It portrays the martyrdom of St. Lawrence of Rome.
The newly found painting, probably by Caravaggio. It portrays the martyrdom of St. Lawrence of Rome.
The Flagellation of Christ (1607)
The Flagellation of Christ (1607)
Boy with a Basket of Fruit (1593-94)
Boy with a Basket of Fruit (1593-94)

The Vatican newspaper shows caution as to the attribution of the painting to Caravaggio. Art critics and historians are now trying to determine whether or not the painting is actually by Caravaggio. Some have already noted that the painting is too coarse, lacks expressivity and depth. But no final verdict has been pronounced yet. We shall just wait and see.

It is true, however, that the panting discovered -- at least from the pictures as they appeared on the Vatican newspaper L'osservatore romano and on the Internet -- pales in comparison with the sophistication of juvenile paintings, such as the Boy with a Basket of Fruit, or later paintings of similar religious subject, such as The Flagellation of Christ.

Awaiting the verdict as to the authenticity of the newly found painting, it is a good idea to rediscover the works of one of the greatest painter of the Italian Baroque. And there is another hub on the Baroque with a quite beautiful gallery of painting, which you should definitely check out.

Interestingly enough, the Vatican newspaper gave the news in concomitance with the 400th anniversary of Caravaggio's death. In celebration of the anniversary, the city of Rome opened up museums, such as Galleria Borghese, and allowed residents and tourists to admire the works of the painter. There were more than 20,000 visitors yesterday, July 18th.


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    • knell63 profile image

      knell63 

      8 years ago from Umbria, Italy

      Here's what the Italian press are saying (English translation) about it.

      http://www.ansa.it/web/notizie/rubriche/english/20...

    • thinkbefore profile imageAUTHOR

      thinkbefore 

      8 years ago

      Now the verdict seems clear. It's not a Caravaggio's:

      https://hubpages.com/art/New-Caravaggio-Probaby-no

    • SaMcNutt profile image

      SaMcNutt 

      8 years ago from Englewood, CO

      Cheers, I will.

    • thinkbefore profile imageAUTHOR

      thinkbefore 

      8 years ago

      To SaMcNutt -- I did not mean to put you to work...I'll keep you posted as/if I hear more about this, and please keep me posted as well.

      To GLStrout -- thanks!

    • G L Strout profile image

      G L Strout 

      8 years ago from Ohio, USA

      I would have to know a lot more before I agreed tha tit was Caravaggio. It is interesting and a beautiful hub. Thanks for the thought-provoking article.

    • SaMcNutt profile image

      SaMcNutt 

      8 years ago from Englewood, CO

      I went to the Louvre web-site but couldn't find it. It may take me awhile to unpack a box with the post card I purchased of it. Wish I could have more substantial information.

      One thing I notice about the pieces you have shown here is the similarity of St. Lawrence of Rome and Boy with a basket of fruit. There are similar features that suggest a model. The facial features, esp. eyes suggest a link to Carvaggio, in my opinion.

      The fagellation of Christ and St. Lawrence have similar lighting and shading. The tonal range of the colors are the same, as well as similar roundness found in the body of each of the paintings' figures.

    • thinkbefore profile imageAUTHOR

      thinkbefore 

      8 years ago

      to SaMcNutt -- do you know the name of the painting in the Louvre whose style resembles that one?

    • SaMcNutt profile image

      SaMcNutt 

      8 years ago from Englewood, CO

      There was a painting by Carvaggio in the Louvre that was my favorite of all of the paintings because the expression he painted and depiction of Jesus was unlike what I have ever seen before. There is something in the painting you show that is familiar to his style.

    • knell63 profile image

      knell63 

      8 years ago from Umbria, Italy

      Ohh this will stir up a hornets nest won't it. I love Caravaggio's work but I am not sure about this one, it seems too loose, too pale for his work. Acknowledged as a man who liked his beer he could have had an off day, and he did travel around a lot, so abandoning paintings in a hurry is not beyond comprehension. There were also many imitators, the Caravaggisti, in his day, so there is a good possibility it's in the style of.

      I was also interested to read a couple of weeks ago that they think they may have found his body and are trying to decide how exactly he died. The mystery of this genius continues 400 years on.

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