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New: Caravaggio? Not So Much

Martyrdom of St. Lawrence, artist unknown

Martyrdom of St. Lawrence, artist unknown

You may have noticed that Italy this year is especially in love with Renaissance painter Caravaggio since this year marks the 400th anniversary of his birth. To add to the Caravaggiomania that is sweeping the country, last week the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano announced in a front page article that it had found a previously undiscovered Caravaggio in the sacristy of a Jesuit church in Rome called “The Martyrdom of St. Lawrence.” Or so it thought.
Yesterday the Vatican’s top art historian Antionio Paolucci refuted this assertion that the painting is indeed by the master by writing in the same newspaper an article entitled: “A New Caravaggio? Not really” stating that the painting is most likely a copy of a Caravaggio-influenced artist.

Paolucci wrote that the work was not of Caravaggio’s quality and termed it “modest” at best, pointing out in particular that the hands were completely out of perspective. The painting depicts a semi-naked young man, his mouth open in desperation, one arm stretched out as he leans over amid flames. St. Lawrence was burned to death in 258.

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