Exhuming Caravaggio

Keeping up with the Caravaggiomania theme, I wanted to bring attention to some recent news stories (brought to my attention by heidenkind). Currently, two groups are working together to exhume the possible remains of Caravaggio:

– Silvano Vinceti, a television producer, believes that he narrowed down the possible remains of Caravaggio to fragments of nine different bodies. These remains have been sent to the Professor Giorgio Gruppioni (University of Ravenna) for carbon dating. Vinceti has exhumed the remains of other prominent historical figures, including Petrarch and Pico della Mirandola. However, Vinceti has long been susceptible to criticism, largely because he isn’t a trained historian or scholar. You can read the recent news article here. (There is also an interesting picture in the article that shows Gruppioni and Vinceti displaying an open box that may contain Caravaggio’s remains – it’s kind of creepy but also really cool.)

Mr. Gruppioni and the University of Ravenna, in tandem with the University of Bologna, are furthering this testing by performing DNA tests on possible descendants of Caravaggio. See the Associated Press release here. (I think it’s interesting that this article doesn’t mention Mr. Vinceti’s involvement in the project. Are the universities are somewhat embarrassed about their association with the controversial television producer?)

Even though Vinceti isn’t a trained scholar, I’m glad to see that he is utilizing the knowledge of scholars for this research project. It will be interesting to see what findings come from these studies! Wouldn’t it be neat to find out that you were a descendant of Caravaggio?

  • heidenkind says:

    I just want to find out if he was murdered or died of syphilis or what (did they have syphilis in Caravaggio's time?).

  • e says:

    Okay, so can someone fill me in on his death? Is it a great story? Why is there question on whether this is his body? It sounds like there's a good story behind it all.

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This blog focuses on making Western art history accessible and interesting to all types of audiences: art historians, students, and anyone else who is curious about art. Alberti’s Window is maintained by Monica Bowen, an art historian and professor.