Thumbs down from Italian scholars to "Caravaggio" drawings
Former director of Milan's Castello Sforzesco is one of many sceptical about researchers' dramatic claim
By Ermanno Rivetti. Web only
Published online: 18 July 2012
After the Italian news agency ANSA broke the story in early July that two Italian researchers had discovered around 90 drawings by Caravaggio in the archives of the Castello Sforzesco in Milan, Caravaggio experts have responded to their claim with scepticism. The artist is widely believed to have painted directly onto canvas and there are no known drawings attributed to him. The researchers maintain that the drawings were made by the artist when he was an apprentice to Simone Peterzano.
Maria Teresa Fiorio, the former director of the castle's collection, told our sister paper Il Giornale dell'Arte: “How can you attribute [so many of] Peterzano's drawings to his young apprentice and how can you trash all previous research? That archive has been studied by many academics before me, and none of them ever detected Caravaggio's hand.”
Francesca Rossi, who oversees the archive and grants access to researchers, says she has no record that the independent researchers Maurizio Bernardelli Curuz and Adriana Conconi Fedrigolli examined the works in the archives. Rossi believes that they only studied electronic images of the works in question. Curuz and Fedrigolli responded by saying that they visited the archive after hours but have not provided further details.
The researchers have self-published a catalogue of the works, which was temporarily available online from Amazon Italy. When asked by The Daily Telegraph newspaper, a spokesman for Amazon Italy declined to comment on the reasons behind its decision to remove the book.
If authenticated, the drawings could be worth a reported €700m.
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