Caravaggio discovered in Italy

2007-07-11 16:08

Rome - A Caravaggio painting once thought to be a copy has been identified as an original after six months of analysis, a leading art restorer from Florence, Roberta Lapucci, said on Wednesday.

"I already was a bit suspicious when I started to study what they presented to me as a copy," Lapucci told AFP.

"But the multi-spectral analysis done in February convinced me that the painting representing the writer Saint Jerome is actually a sketch in Caravaggio's hand," Lapucci said.

The painting, to be shown in Malta as part of a major exhibit of the Renaissance master's works, had been considered a copy of a 1606 painting by Caravaggio housed at the cathedral in the Maltese capital, Valletta.

Many differences

Instead, Lapucci said, it is a first draft of the definitive work with many differences.

For example, the crucifix is in a different place and the candle is lit in the draft but unlit in the final version, she noted.

A committee of art historians is to make a final judgement on the work later this year, Lapucci said, adding that it is to be exhibited next to the definitive version in Malta.

A dozen Italian and foreign experts have examined the canvas, which belongs to a private collector, in Florence, and concur with Lapucci's assessment, she said.