Caravaggio Painting Recovered (and Bones Discovered)

Caravaggio continues to make headlines this year (which celebrates the 400th anniversary of Caravaggio’s death).  You may have noticed my recent tweet that scientists believe that they have found Caravaggio’s bones (see left).  This is really exciting news, although I wish that we could determine the exact cause of Caravaggio’s death through analysis of these bones.  If only bones could talk…


In other exciting news, Caravaggio’s painting The Taking of Christ (also known as “The Kiss of Judas,” c. 1602, see right) was recently recovered (see here).  This painting was stolen from Ukraine two years ago, and it recently appeared in Berlin.  Two thieves have been apprehended; they apparently tried to sell the painting to a German collector.  The recovery is really exciting, but its really disheartening to see the damage incurred by the theft (see image of the damaged canvas at the end of this post).

(FYI: There is another version of The Taking of Christ which is located in the National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin.  Don’t be confused if you’re recently seen this painting on display!)

UPDATE: This recovered painting has been reexamined by experts and determined to be a 17th century copy of Caravaggio.  See this post for more information.

  • heidenkind says:

    Yikes! That painting is really damaged now. Sadness. 🙁

  • e says:

    I can't believe that damage! What on earth did they do to cause that kind of damage?

    It seems like art thieves would realize some sort of importance in keeping art in decent condition. I mean, they obviously realize how much it is worth.

  • columnist says:

    I don't know whether you saw this article in The Daily Telegraph:

    but I'm sure you'd enjoy it. A rather troubled life, it would seem.

  • H Niyazi says:

    Now those clowns are "Destroyers of Art" M… not our beloved Il Magnifico!

    Requiescat In Pace Messer Merisi. If they set up a fitting Mausoleum for his bones, I'll be sure to visit him one day.

    Despite the damage, both of these bits of news together spell something positive for fans of Art and History.

    It's only fitting we celebrate it with clips from Simon Schama and his stunning piece on Caravaggio in 'Power of Art'

    H Niyazi

  • Hels says:

    Like your other commenters, I am also saddened. How did the thieves get hold of a totally famous and valuable painting like Caravaggio's The Kiss of Judas? Was the security hopeless or was it an inside job?

    Grrrrrr…has the Odessa Museum of Art improved their security since the theft? It reminds me of the Gardner in Boston pre-theft – hopeless.

  • M says:

    Yeah, the damage is really sad. You're right, N Niyazi, these thieves are destroyers of art! From what I read here, Hels, this was a problem with poor museum security. The museum had been urged to update their alarm system for some time, but failed to do so because of financial reasons.

    Thanks for the link to the Telegraph article, columnist! That provides a pretty good synopsis of Caravaggio's troubled life. (If anyone is interested, you can get a good sense of Caravaggio's dramatic/troubled life by watching the Simon Schama clip that is available off of H Niyazi's link.)

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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.