CARAVAGGIO, OR NOT CARAVAGGIO?
On 23rd April 2014 a painting was recovered in the attic of a house in Toulouse France.
It was soon identified as being the original work of Caravaggio, a second version of Judith and Holofernes.
Some suggest that it may not be by Caravaggio but by Louis Finson, painter and art dealer who played an essential role in spreading throughout Europe the style of Caravaggio and Caravaggism in particular. He often copied works by the master. It is almost certain that Finson copied Judith decapitating Holofernes, his interpretation of Caravaggio’s painting. Finson was a great admirer of Caravaggio and was a diligent copyist of his works.
So who knows? Is this an original Caravaggio or the copied painting by Finson.
I couldn’t wait to see the painting for myself, a quick trip to London to Colnaghi’s before the painting heads to Paris and New York, before the sale in Toulouse France on June 27th. It’s estimated to fetch between £90,000000 - £140 Million, and will be offered without reserve.
This rediscovery is a major event. Caravaggio is today an almost mythological figure whose revolutionary vision makes him one of the geniuses of the art world.
My thoughts…. Well I’m still not sure, the hands are painted like that of Caravaggio, but the composition of the painting is slightly out. There are a lot of anomalies in the painting style. Having studies and replicated Caravaggio’s, making numerous mistakes along they way (which is the best way to learn), I’m not 100% convinced. The only explanation to me (if it is by the hand of Caravaggio) is that it would be one of his later works, after he was injured and painted in a hurry. The flashes of brilliants and genius you expect to see in a Caravaggio are not there.