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'New Caravaggio' a copy, admits Vatican

By Nitsi

London, July 27 (ANI): The Vatican's top art historian has accepted that a report in the ecclesiastical state's newspaper, which gave the impression that a recently discovered painting was a Caravaggio, was wrong. ntonio Paolucci, the head of the Vatican Museums, wrote in the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano that the painting was most probably a copy of an original by a Caravaggio-influence artist.

Last week L'Osservatore created a flutter in the world of art with a front-page article headlined "A New Caravaggio," detailing the artistry behind the "Martyrdom of St. Lawrence," which was found in the sacristy of a Jesuit church in Rome.

While art historian Lydia Salviucci Insolera, who penned the article, had made clear that more diagnostic tests were required before a conclusion could be reached, the newspaper, it seemed, suggested the painting was indeed a never-before-seen Caravaggio.

The original Caravaggio article, published on June 18, pointed out that the "The Martyrdom of St. Lawrence" presented features typical of the artist's style, such as the use of chiaroscuro for dramatic effect and the unique perspective from which the subject is seen. The report also highlighted similarities with other Caravaggio's paintings, for example in the saint's hand and body movement.

However, after a week of "Caravaggiomania" sweeping the art world - coupled with the already frenzied Caravaggio anniversary celebrations in Italy - Vatican Museum chief Paolucci, a former Italian Culture Minister, issued the equivalent of a Holy See mea culpa and reversal.

In a front-page article entitled "A New Caravaggio? Not really", Paolucci wrote the work was not of Caravaggio's quality dubbing it "modest".

The painting portrays a semi-naked young man, his mouth open in desperation, one arm stretched out as he leans over amid flames. St. Lawrence was burned to death in 258. (ANI)

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