Caravaggio the Killer (until March 15, 2011)


The last time Caravaggio’s portrait of Paul V Borghese was open for public viewing was 60 years ago, in 1951. The portrait is interesting because its subject is the pope who condemned Caravaggio to death.

Caravaggio exhibition 2011

In order to be able to display the painting it first had to be completely restored, since it had not been taken good care of in the house where it has been kept all this time.

Apart from the painting, which is the highlight of the exhibition, there are some 70 documents to be seen, together with a number of paintings of Rome.

The documents throw some light on Caravaggio’s life in Rome. There are anecdotes from the artist’s life, but also mundane documents such as rental contracts. The most interesting ones are without a doubt the police files, though, which show that Caravaggio was not the nicest of men: He carried weapons, often ended up in brawls and frequently bragged of his protection by important cardinals. He finally had to flee Rome after having killed a man in a pre-arranged fight.

The exhibition, titled “Caravaggio a Roma. Una vita dal vero“ can be seen at the Sala Alessandrina, Palazzo della Sapienza (Corso del Rinascimento, 40) –Archivio di Stato di Roma. It is held in occasion of the 4th centenary of Caravaggio’s death.

Update: The exhibition has ended.

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