In brief

Caravaggio’s Remains Get Monumental Funerary Park

Chalk portrait of Caravaggio by Ottavio Leoni, circa 1621 Courtesy: Wikicommons

Chalk portrait of Caravaggio by Ottavio Leoni, circa 1621
Courtesy: Wikicommons

The remains of 17th century painter Caravaggio, unearthed in 2010 in the coastal town of Porto Ercole, Tuscany, are to be reburied in what the Journal des Arts describes as a “monumental funerary park dedicated to his memory.”

For centuries, Caravaggio’s death was one of the great mysteries of art history. Although, he was known to have died  in the Tuscan town, either having been killed in a plot organized by the Knights of Malta or simply from a malarious fever, his last resting place remained unknown.

In 2010, just in time for the 400th anniversary of Caravaggio’s death, a team of scientists led by Silvano Vinceti claimed to have identified the painter’s bones in a local crypt.

DNA tests, coupled with the fact that the bones corresponded to a male of Caravaggio’s stature and age when he died (38) were put forward to back the claim. Further tests also found traces of lead, commonly used in oil paint at the time.

The discovery was received with much suspicion by academics. “In the 400th anniversary of Caravaggio’s death, this committee has concocted a compelling discovery thinking it will attract tourists,” University of Naples’ Tomaso Montanari told the New York Times. “It’s all very depressing.”