A rediscovered painting thought to be by Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio is being exhibited for the first time as part of the show “Caravaggio and His Followers in Rome.” The painting is currently on exhibit at the National Gallery of Canada.
The painting is said to be of St. Augustine, who appears to be studying — or perhaps cheating on a test or copying pages out of the phone book.
Of course, there are some who aren’t so sure the painting is a Caravaggio. Last year, just before the 400th anniversary of his death, The Vatican announced they had found an undiscovered work by him, “The Martyrdom of St. Lawrence.” It wasn’t very long before they took that back and agreed with the experts, the painting was not by Caravaggio.
At that time last year, Caravaggio’s corpse had recently been identified, having been lost in a mass grave all these centuries. DNA tests of ancestors helped scientists determine his identity. And his reputation had changed — suddenly art historians were pretty keen on his paintings, as well as his 17th century “thug life,” with all that talent, sex and violence.
In the midst of what was being called “Caravaggiomania,” there was even an iPad app released.
With the exhibition of St. Augustine, there are sure to be more art critics and historians weighing in. For more information and some related links, go to the Who2 biography of Caravaggio.