Nearly 100 Caravaggio Sketches Discovered in Milan Castle, Experts Debate Authenticity

Nearly 100 sketches and paintings done by Caravaggio (Michelangelo Merisi) have been discovered at a castle in Milan. Well, that’s what two Italian art historians are claiming.

The new Caravaggio paintings were published in an ebook on Amazon called “Young Caravaggio – One Hundred Rediscovered Works,” but not everyone is convinced that the sketches are authentic.

According to the Telegraph, the lost Caravaggio sketches were discovered by art historians Maurizio Bernardelli Curuz and Adriana Conconi Fedrigolli in a collection of artworks at the Sforzesco Castle, a Milan. The art collection came from the studio of Milanese artist, Simone Peterzano, who taught Varavaggio when he was a teenager in the 1580s.

Claudio Strinati, a prominent expert in 16th-century art, said:

“It is plausible that at least some of these drawings are by the young Michelangelo Merisi… There are documents which attest to the fact that he spent four years in the studio of Peterzano. It’s clear that he would have produced some works in those years.”

But according to Dr. John T. Spike, a Caravaggio expert at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, the sketches do not match up with Caravaggio’s other early work. The famous painter’s earliest known work, Boy Peeling Fruit, was painted in 1592. According to Spike, the recently discovered sketches do not match Caravaggio’s talent level as a teen.

Spike said:

“The sketches from the collection show robust, competent drawing, yet in Caravaggio’s earliest painting he was struggling to draw competently. How could he have gone backwards in terms of his artistic skill?… These sketches could have been by anybody. Young artists studied in groups and used the same artistic language.”

In the introduction to the book, Curuz and Fedrigolli write:

“More than four hundred years of impenetrable obscurity hid one of the greatest cultural treasures in the world: the works done by Michelangelo Merisi, known as Caravaggio, during his early period, prior to his arrival in Rome…This discovery has made it possible to understand the secret mainspring of one of the greatest painters of all time, overturning among other things the widespread theory that Caravaggio never drew.”

Strinati concluded that the new collection likely contains some works by Caravaggio. But the claim that 100 new pieces of art by the great painter have been found, according to Strinati, was “absurd.”

Strinati wrote:

“In the best of hypotheses maybe some were done by Michelangelo Merisi but none by Caravaggio,” the mature artist of the celebrated paintings. “I consider this research to be interesting, but not important.”