|Painting at Center of Caravaggio Mystery Unveiled in Rome|
Art superintendent Rossella Vodret illustrates some detail of the painting at the center of the latest Caravaggio mystery, after the Vatican newspaper first suggested and then denied that the canvas was the work of the Italian master, in Rome, Italy, Tuesday, July 27, 2010. The "Martyrdom of St. Lawrence" would now be examined to ascertain its attribution, but Vodret and other Caravaggio scholars attending the unveiling agreed the painting did not look like a Caravaggio, but rather like the work of his followers. They said the quality did not hold up to Caravaggio's standards. AP Photo/Pier Paolo Cito.
By: Alessandra Rizzo, Associated Press Writer
ROME (AP).- Art officials on Tuesday unveiled the painting at the center of the latest Caravaggio mystery, after the Vatican newspaper first suggested and then denied that the canvas was the work of the Italian master.
The "Martyrdom of St. Lawrence" will now be subjected to X-rays and other analyses to ascertain its attribution. But art officials and scholars attending the unveiling agreed the painting did not look like a Caravaggio but rather like the work of one or more of his followers.
"It's a very interesting painting but I believe we can rule out at least for now that it's a Caravaggio," said art superintendent Rossella Vodret. "The quality of the painting doesn't hold up."
Vodret theatrically opened the curtain on the painting in a Jesuit church in Rome, revealing a canvas dominated by the figure of the St. Lawrence being grilled to death, his three executioners in the backdrop.
The 183-by-130.5 centimeter (72-by-51 inch) painting was recently cleaned up and features the dramatic chiaroscuro typical of Caravaggio and his school. The painting will not be on public display.
The Vatican newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano, set the art world aflutter last week with a front-page article headlined "A New Caravaggio."
The article made clear that no certain attribution had been made and that further tests were required. But the definitive-sounding headline and the fact that the claim was made on the day marking the 400th anniversary of the master's death had raised expectations. The Vatican has in the past announced such art-world news in L'Osservatore, sometimes coinciding with an anniversary.
But on Monday, the newspaper reversed itself and published an article by the Vatican's top art historian shooting down the claim. Under the front-page headline "A New Caravaggio? Not really," Vatican Museums chief Antonio Paolucci wrote that the work was not of Caravaggio's quality and termed it "modest" at best.
The painting belongs to the Jesuit order and had been kept for years in a private room in the Chiesa del Gesu in Rome, said the church's rector, the Rev. Daniele Libanori. As the painting's cleanup this year revealed an interesting work, art officials were called in.
But Libanori said the original claim in L'Osservatore came as a surprise to the Jesuits, too.
Mystery still surrounds the history of the canvas. Libanori was secretive about its origin, declining to say what city or Jesuit venue the painting had come from.
The painting is uneven artistically, scholars said, with some beautiful elements and some parts they didn't hesitate to call "very poor" and even "embarrassing." This suggested that two different people may have worked at it, though it is not certain.
Vodret said the most interesting element is the position and perspective of the saint, who's shown on the grill, one arm extended, his figure lit up. Such unique iconography might have suggested the hand of Caravaggio, known for showing scenes as if shot from unusual angles.
She said the hand of one of the executioners, holding a stick to keep the saint down, is also of good quality. But she and the other experts noted that elements were poor, such as the bodies of the executioners, the cloth covering Lawrence, and one of the saint's legs, which appears to be awkwardly attached to the torso.
"The leg looks like a frog's leg. Caravaggio would never have made such a mistake," said Marco Bona Castellotti, an art historian. Even as he saw the painting for the first time at Tuesday's unveiling, he had no doubt it couldn't be Caravaggio.
Experts believed the work may have been done by a follower, likely in Naples, Sicily or Malta all places where the painter spent time during his tumultuous life. Caravaggio died in a Tuscan coast town in 1610 in mysterious circumstances, and a group of Italian researchers said recently that they had identified his remains.
The tests on the "Martyrdom of St. Lawrence" will begin in September, accompanied by research of archives and documents in order to trace the history of the painting and who commissioned it. The research will take several months.
Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.
July 28, 2010
Mexican Authorities Recover 144 Original Pre-Columbian Pieces and Colonial Religious Works
Maximilien Luce, Neo-Impressionist. A Retrospective at Musée des Impressionnismes Giverny
MFA Houston Announces Acquisition of Over 160 Decorative Arts Objects
Portrait of Secretary Norman Y. Mineta Presented at the National Portrait Gallery
Salvador Dalí's Mustache Finds New Home on a Delta Plane
Rafael Viñoly Architects to Design Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate
Ohio's Butler Museum to Host Exhibition by Rolling Stone Ronnie Wood
Sotheby's to Sell Group of Important Paintings by Mahmoud Said
Scientists in New Titanic Expedition will Create 3D Map of Wreck
Book is First to Examine John and Dominique de Menil's Contributions to Art
Brainstem, Spinal Cord Images Hidden in Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel Fresco
Lawyer: Negatives Verified by Team of Experts as Ansel Adams' Work
A Tribute to Andy Warhol with an Exclusive Collection of Bottles of Dom Pérignon
Exhibition at Museum of Fine Arts Features Acclaimed Series, The Brown Sisters
Art Funded Works by William McTaggart Shown in Centenary Celebration at Kirkcaldy Museum and Art Gallery
Painting at Center of Caravaggio Mystery Unveiled in Rome
Angela Brady Elected Next President of the RIBA
Vast Collection of Works of Art by Jean Cocteau to Sell at Bonhams
Handwritten Diary of Extraordinary Trip for Sale at Bonhams
Dora Carrington Drawing Scooped for Cecil Higgins Art Gallery & Bedford Museum
The American Landscapes of Asher B. Durand to Be Explored in Exhibition at Fundación Juan March
Underground Gallery: London Transport Posters 1920s-1940s at MoMA
IVAM Opens First Exhibition in Europe by Chinese Artist Wang Xieda
Exclusive Catherine Opie Exhibition Opens at Los Angeles County Museum of Art
Inverleith House Opens First Museum Exhibition in the UK Devoted to the Artist Joan Mitchell
Most Popular Last Seven Days
1.- Regrets: Upper Belvedere opens exhibition featuring recent work by Jasper Johns
2.- Swedish-born star of La Dolce Vita, Anita Ekberg, has died in Rome at the age of 83
3.- Swedish archaeologists find rare 2,500-year-old relief depicting two pharaonic deities
4.- 'American Dreams: Paintings by John Mellencamp' opens at the Morris Museum of Art
5.- Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum welcomes Nathaniel Silver as Assistant Curator of the Collection
6.- Art Institute names new curator: Rebecca Long will be responsible for Italian and Spanish art
7.- The 'Holy Grail' of electric guitars, the original Les Paul 'Black Beauty' prototype, up for auction at Guernsey's
8.- 10,000 photos taken between 1840 and 1920 from Jerome Manin's collection to be sold
9.- Special Asterix cartoons to honour French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo dead
10.- The art world uncovered: Art travel experiences like you've never seen before
Italian police recover 2,000-year-old Egyptian sphinx stolen from Etruscan necropolis of Montem Rossulum
Kept in Jean-Léon Gérôme's family for 140 years, Promenade du Harem will be sold at auction
First solo exhibition with Los Angeles painter Pamela Jorden opens at Romer Young Gallery
Italian Capital of Rome Grapples with Endless Vandalism
Italian Capital of Rome Grapples with Endless Vandalism
Sonar Scanners Find Ancient Wrecks Off Italian Coast
L'Osservatore Romano Says New Caravaggio May Have Been Found
Churches and a Gallery in Rome to Honor Caravaggio with Rare Night Visits
Italian Police Show Latest Recovery of Looted Art at the Colosseum
Alfa Romeo Celebrates its Centenary with Sculpture by Gerry Judah
Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .
|Royalville Communications, Inc|