Caravaggio’s Bones

The Italian Baroque artist, Caravaggio, never seems to be out of the news these days. This year, which marks the 400th anniversary of his death, has seen 2 major Caravaggio exhibitions in Rome and Florence, the possible discovery of an unknown work, the recovery of a stolen work and, last but not least, the discovery of the artist’s remains.

When a team of archaeologists, scientists and historians recently announced they’d identified the bones of Michelangelo Merisi, aka “Il Caravaggio”, the news created a wave of excitement among Italian art lovers. Caravaggio’s death has always been shrouded in mystery: despite countless theories, nobody knows exactly when he died and what he died of. Unlike most artists, neither his tomb nor his bones had ever been located.

But now it seems that one of the oldest cold cases in art history has finally been solved. Or has it? Dany Mitzman’s been talking to the team of academics-turned-detectives to find out more.

First broadcast on Arts on the Air, Deutsche Welle Radio, September 2010

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