Painting found in Rome could be Caravaggio work

ROME (Reuters Life!) - A painting found in Rome may be the work of Baroque master Caravaggio and has captivated art critics with its resemblance to other works by the artist, the Vatican’s newspaper said.

The “Martyrdom of St. Lawrence” belonging to the Jesuit order has not yet been authenticated as a work of Caravaggio, but appears to have all the hallmarks of his paintings including dramatic lighting effects, the Osservatore Romano said.

“Certainly it’s a stylistically impeccable, beautiful painting,” the newspaper said in an article that will appear in its Sunday edition. “One can’t but be reminded of works like the Conversion of St. Paul, the Martyrdom of St. Matthew and Judith and Holofernes.”

Italy is marking the 400th anniversary of Caravaggio’s death by throwing churches and an art gallery open all night this weekend. Major exhibitions have also been held in Italy this year to honor the artist.

Caravaggio pioneered the Baroque painting technique of contrasting light and dark known as chiaroscuro but was famous for his wild lifestyle -- he is said to have killed a man in a brawl and fled Rome.

His mysterious death in 1610 has long intrigued scholars -- theories include that he was killed on a deserted Tuscan beach or collapsed there due to an illness -- and Italian anthropologists last month announced they had found his remains.

Reporting by Deepa Babington; editing by David Stamp