Preposterous Theories Continue to Surface about Caravaggio...

Workshop of Simone Peterzano
Study of a Head
Black chalk
Milan, Castello Sforzesco
A so-called Caravaggio drawing
ascribed by so-called experts...

6/7/12 - False scoop - Following the discovery of the so-called remains of Caravaggio and their "85% probability", the recurring apparitions of paintings with incredibly imaginative attributions for each (see our article), once again, Caravaggio "experts" have made a stunning find : they seem to have fallen upon no less than "around 100 drawings and a number of paintings" ! Knowing how rare the artist’s original paintings are, and the total lack of drawings, we would indeed agree that this is an enormous scoop which the entire press, even the most reliable newspapers, seem to have taken up like starving dogs jumping on a bone.

When reading the AFP news release quoting its Italian counterpart and original source, ANSA, the information seems too good to be true and thus raises real concerns about the state of the press in France and elsewhere in the world as the "scoop" has been relayed just about everywhere.

The question mark in the title [1] is not enough to justify the publication of such a pack of absurd statements. Who first announced this discovery, the result of research carried out in very well known holdings, those of the painter Simone Peterzano a master of Caravaggio at one point, residing at the Castello Sforzesco in Milan ? We are told these are experts. Goodness, then if these are experts they must of course be right, since as we all know, experts never make mistakes. To be more precise, as we read a bit further on, this is a group of experts making it even more reliable. If this discovery was made by a group, then it must really be serious... A bit puzzlingly however, we find out as we continue to read, that this group is made up of simply two persons : Maurizio Bernardelli Curuz and Adriana Conconi Fedrigolli. Two "experts" on Caravaggio who have never published anything on the artist and whose names have been picked out of a hat with no one stopping for even one second to question their legitimacy on the subject.

It is true that Maurizio Bernardelli Curuz, presented as "artistic director of the Brescia Museums Foundation", "has developed a method for finding the ’geometric standard’ of Caravaggio and applied it to the 1,400 drawings of the Peterzano Holdings." The "geometric standard", is scientifically solid ! Less than the trigonometry standard or the differential standard, but still.
The conclusion ? "Of the 100 drawings re-found and attributed to the master, 83 ’were reused several times in the adult works’ of Caravaggio." Therefore, Caravaggio drew copiously when he was in Simone Peterzano’s studio, then stopped abruptly. He had produced all his creative effort, all of his compositions and then needed only to execute them based on his early drawings made when he was young. Caravaggio was indeed re-vo-lu-tion-ary as has often been said ! This method now proves it beyond the shadow of a doubt. Anyone who might remain skeptical need only take a look at some of the Caravaggio drawings here, on the La Repubblica website. This discovery has been estimated at worth 700 million euros, an amount calculated with the same geometric, or rather mathematic, rigor : "This estimation was obtained based on the average price of 7 million euros [!] for 16th century old master drawings at recent auctions" !

The purpose of this entire operation is no doubt implicit in the conclusion : "two ebooks in four languages" will go on sale starting Friday 6 July. As we write this article (5 July 11pm), the two ebooks have already become available for purchase at the modest price of 13.50€ on Amazon, Kindle format. How sad, we don’t have a Kindle...

Version française

Didier Rykner, vendredi 6 juillet 2012


[1] In fact, some newspapers have negligently chosen to disregard it altogether, for example, here or here...

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