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News: Caravaggio Found!

caravaggio self portraitFor the past few months, we’ve been closely following the saga unfolding in Porto Ecrole, Italy as scientists test the remains of whom they believe may be the long dead Caravaggio; bones tossed into an ossuary in the 1950s after being dug-up from the cemetery of San Sebastiano.
In 2001, an Italian researcher came across a document he believed was the death certificate of Caravaggio from a Tuscan hospital, a document which detailed burial at the Church of San Sebastiano. This year, on the 400th anniversary of the painter’s death, the Italian government decided to put the researcher’s theories to the test by looking through the bones in the ossuary that matched Caravaggio’s physical description, 39 years old, male, 5’6. In March, the scientists working on the project took DNA samples from people who are most likely the descendants of Caravaggio’s brother to compare them with the bones found and finally, after four months of waiting, the results are in! It’s a match! Or it’s at least close enough! The tests show that there is enough similar genetic material to conclude that they are related. It is in conjunction with the death certificate that Italy’s National Committee for Cultural Heritage are calling the results definitive, the bones are from Caravaggio.
For years, art historians have speculated what could have become of the turbulent Caravaggio, a painter whose name was forgotten to time but rediscovered with a passion as the progenitor of chiaroscuro during the 19th century. The 39 year old painter and rough rouser disappeared in Tuscany while journeying to Rome and theories on his demise, such that he was murdered or died of typhus or syphilis, have been bandied about without conclusion.

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