I met my artist son yesterday for a coffee and knowing him to be a huge Caravaggio fan, excitedly told him what I'd read. He immediately checked out the report on his iphone and commented, "That would be brilliant - if it's for real!"
Slightly crestfallen, I asked him what he meant.
He reminded me of the Van Meegren forgeries of the paintings of Jan Vermeer and how the art world, desperately wanting to believe, had hoodwinked itself. It made me think of other situations like the notorious 'Hitler Diaries' where serious historians, and the media themselves that time, were fooled into parting with lots of dosh.
Whatever the outcome, it's interesting stuff and I'll definitely be keeping an eye on how things unfold. Caravaggio the man was, from what we know about him, quite a difficult individual, perhaps not someone you'd want at your summer barbecue with granny present. He had a fierce temper and was a renowned brawler. He had to get out of Rome pretty fast after killing someone and he is believed later to have wounded a Knight of Malta in a fight. His death in 1610 at the age of 38 has been put down to a variety of natural causes as well as there being a possibility he was murdered. When you look at his life there were, it seems, a number of people who may have been keen to 'do away with him'. If he hadn't been such a damn fine painter it's unlikely I reckon he'd have survived as long as he did!
I have always been an art lover, but on this occasion, I was struck dumb by the painting's power. Believe me, the photograph just doesn't do it justice. Perhaps for the first time I was truly able to comprehend why the accolade of 'masterpiece' can only be attributed to a handful of great works.