Two Italian art experts claim to have found several drawings and paintings done by Baroque master Carravaggio, but those claims are being refuted by those who say the artwork’s provenance hasn’t been proven.
Maurizio Bernardelli Curuz and Adriana Conconi Fedrigolli came across the works at Milan’s Sforza Castle, but they weren’t hidden away or stored behind other works, which makes some suspicious of the claims; they were out in plain view of hundreds of other art historians who have walked right by them over the years.
“The drawings have always been there, and have never yet been attributed to Caravaggio,” said Elena Conenna, a spokesperson for Milan’s culture council.
The works–about a hundred drawings and several paintings–were among a collection of Simone Peterzano’s students’ work, and Caravaggio studied under Peterzano from the age of eleven. If proven to be the master’s artwork, the collection could be worth upwards of $885 million.
Curuz and Fedrigolli say they’ve been studying the drawings for years now, as well as the artist’s known work, and say they’ve found it odd that nothing has been attributed to him during a certain time period. This new find could be just what the collection is missing.
“It was impossible that Caravaggio had left no trace of his activity between 1584 and 1588 at the workshop of a painter who was famous and sought after at the time,” Curuz said.
The city of Milan is launching an investigation into the matter to try and determine if the duo’s claims are indeed true.
Sadly, like most great artists, Caravaggio led something of a doomed life. Although he was a noted painter in his time–and was often commissioned to do great pieces for churches–his reputation for trouble never quite left him. His police record was several pages long by the time of his curious death in 1610. After being involved in several brawls and actually killing a man in one of them, he embarked on a trip to Rome to receive a pardon for the death, but he never made it there. While his official cause of death was noted as being caused by fever, some think he was killed as an act of vengeance.