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Caravaggio in America – Part 1

By Eric M. Zafran - 14. June 2024
Eric Zafran recounts the fumbled initial attempts of American museums to buy an authentic Caravaggio painting in the first of three provocative articles on Caravaggiomania in the U.S.
This is the first installment of a three-part essay in which retired curator Eric Zafran tells the tale of how seven paintings by Caravaggio ended up in American public collections. He uncovers the backstory of the museum directors, trustees, curators, dealers, scholars, and conservators who made this happen.
Dedicated to the memory of Creighton Gilbert

“The gloom of Caravaggio”

While today Caravaggio is considered one of the pre-eminent European artists, and what Richard Spear has rightly dubbed “Caravaggiomania” is sweeping the world,[1] the artist’s reputation in America was not always so high. Although throughout the nineteenth century many pictures passing under his name appeared in exhibitions, and sales in this country assuring that he (or at least a distorted idea of his works) was not forgotten, they were often accompanied by words reflecting the negative opinion of Caravaggio that had first been recorded by his early, prejudiced biographers Baglione and Bellori. For example, as early as 1821 a pair of Fruit Pieces for sale at Doggett’s Repository in Boston were described as follows:

These are two grand specimens of Caravaggio. He was the author of that manner which was strong, and had a powerful effect by the bold opposition of light and shadows. He took nature for his model of every object, but wanted judgment, either to correct or improve nature, and imitated indiscriminately the beauties and defects of his models. It is reported of him that he always chose to work in a room where the light descended from above. His style of painting was so new, and so surprising that most of the great men, his contemporaries, studied to imitate it; among whom were Domenichino, Guido, Guercino, and others…as well as Valentio and Manfredi. The chief excellence of Caravaggio consisted in colouring; but many of his pictures are truly fine and admirably finished …At first he painted fruit and flowers; but afterwards, in the decline of his age, devoted all his application to historical compositions and portraits.[2]

Caravaggio’s name (if not his actual works) came to connote a certain type of subject and treatment. For example, in 1835 Edgar Allen Poe, in one of his “burlesque” short stories, could refer to “the gloom of Caravaggio.”[3] Very mixed notices of the painter appeared in a number of critical and reference works during the course of the century. [4]

The prevailing negative attitude is also evident in the writings of one of America’s most prominent nineteenth-century collectors and authors on art, James Jackson Jarves (1818-88; fig. 1). He was much influenced by the English critic, John Ruskin, who had consigned Caravaggio and most Italian Baroque artists to “the school of Errors and Vices.”[5] Jarves observed in 1855, “Caravaggio is perhaps a solitary instance among Italian artists of repute who has condescended to recognize the wayward humors and fancies of every-day humanity, but with so much coarseness that we can well forgive the rarity of his pictures.”[6]

Fig. 1 Larkin Goldsmith Mead, James Jackson Jarves, 1883, bronze, dark brown and bronze patina, Yale University Art Gallery, 1930.331.

An even more deprecating account of the painter appeared during the next decade in G. W. Samson’s Elements of Art Criticism:

He [Caravaggio] painted indeed from nature; but from unnatural scenes of passion and lust met in the dens of infamy, seldom seen and scarcely dreamed of by the mass of virtuous society. There is a power and pathos about his best works at Rome; arising from the passion which was real in the artist and transferred to his canvas, and from the dark shadows, so in contrast with the sweet clear light of ordinary life, ever settling on the pathway of men that ‘love darkness rather than light because their deeds are evil.’ Caravaggio’s style in themes appropriate was masterly; a large part of his subjects were after Schiller’s early literary fancies in his Robbers, scenes of murder, sorcery, and robbery; his ‘Gamester’ being a type. In themes of religious cast, however, nothing could be more inappropriate.[7]

This approach to Caravaggio continued into the late nineteenth century and is reflected in  Champlin and Perkins 1886 Cyclopedia of Painters where the entry for Caravaggio states: “The novelty of his style, an energetic but coarse rendering of nature, without selection and without taste, attracted notice, and his works won such public admiration that other artists were led to imitate his powerful though corrupt manner.” In their listing of Caravaggio’s major paintings, none is noted as being in America.[8]

However, there were many works passing for Caravaggios in private American collections and shown in sales and exhibitions to keep his name alive as a recognized painter of still lives, religious and genre subjects, as well as portraits.[9] One of America’s earliest collectors, Robert Gilmor Jr. of Baltimore (1774-1848; fig. 2), had among his European paintings a Magdalene by Caravaggio.[10] John Hare Powel exhibited a Still Life of Fruit at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in 1811.[11] In 1832 a member of Boston’s Cabot family commissioned a copy of Caravaggio’s Cardsharps, then in a Roman collection, to be painted by an artist named Galliadi. A Cabot descendant eventually gave this to the Fogg Art Museum in 1957.[12]

Fig. 2 Auguste Edouart, Robert Gilmor Jr., 1840, lithograph, chalk and cut paper on paper, National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, S/NPG.91.126.38.A.

Also, in 1832 first the American Academy of Fine Arts in New York City and then the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia in 1833 exhibited among the celebrated “Gallery of Paintings” brought to this country from England by a Mr. Brett, a Christ Reproving Martha by Caravaggio,[13] and in 1835 a large painting of The Five Senses from the collection of Joseph Capece Latro was shown at the New York City Dispensary.[14]

An indication of how widely or indiscriminately Caravaggio’s name was applied is evidenced by a Herodias with the Head of St. John the Baptist from the collection of Louis Philippe that was lent by H. J. Bigelow to the Boston Athenaeum in 1853. Years later it was presented by his descendents to the city’s Museum of Fine Arts, where it is now recognized as an outstanding work by Francesco del Cairo (fig. 3).[15]

Fig. 3 Francesco del Cairo, Herodias with the Head of Saint John the Baptist, ca. 1625-30, oil on canvas, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 26.772.

In 1864 the Boston Athenaeum also exhibited, in its Sailor’s Fair, a Caravaggio Fortune Teller lent by James G. Batterson of Hartford (fig. 4).[16] One of that city’s leading businessmen and philanthropists, the founder of the Travelers Insurance Company, and a friend of Abraham Lincoln, Batterson had traveled in Europe and amassed an extensive art collection.[17] It was in 1858-59 that he acquired in Rome from a certain painter and picture dealer named Raffaele Menchetti  a group of paintings including this Caravaggio, which is described as follows on the purchase list:

A Youth listening to an old Woman who is telling his fortune – a canvas painting 81 centimeters and a half in width and 66 and a half in height, by Michelangelo Amerighi, surnamed Caravaggio. This beautiful painting, which doubtlessly dates back to his first manner, if wanting in that freshness and boldness of touch which he displayed when more advanced in years, exhibits, nevertheless, such precision of detail, and is executed with such care and diligence, as to entitle it to that kind of merit which is often found wanting in his subsequent works.[18]

This and 165 other paintings were also lent by Mr. Batterson to Hartford’s own Wadsworth Atheneum in 1864 and again in 1868.[19] He did not, however, donate these works and most were sold off and have disappeared.

Fig. 4 Photograph of James Goodwin Batterson, ca. 1901.

In Washington, D. C., Senator Charles Sumner housed a large collection of paintings, and in recollections of it published in 1874, it is noted that in his study “hung Caravaggio’s celebrated Itinerant Musicians, done in the later part of the sixteenth century. It was one of the largest canvases in the house, and it was so hung that it most readily caught the eye of the visitor.”[20]

By the early 1880s there was a Caravaggio “Monk” on loan to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York from the Rev. H. W. Knapp of Brooklyn. It was later given to the Met and identified as St. Francis of Assisi,[21] but was returned to the donor’s family in 1929.[22]

One of America’s grandest private collections that also eventually became a public one was that built on the foundation of his father’s efforts by Henry Walters of Baltimore (fig. 5). In 1902 he acquired in Rome the extensive old master collection of Don Marcello Massarenti with a wealth of both fine paintings and dubious attributions.[23] Among these were four works identified as Caravaggios: A Jesus Crowned with Thorns, Musicians, The Magdalene, and a Descent from the Cross (which was a small copy of the painting in the Vatican). They were all originally displayed in Mr. Walters’s gallery and included in his published catalogue of 1909,[24] but in 1922, following the advice of Bernard Berenson, three of them were among the many works sold off by Walters, leaving only the Magdalene (fig. 6).[25] That painting has been attributed by Federico Zeri to Spadarino and, recently restored, was shown in the Caravaggio exhibition in Ottawa and Fort Worth.[26] The Walters’ Christ Crowned with Thorns (fig. 7) may well be the one (much restored) now identified as a Manfredi in the Springfield Museum of Art.[27]

Fig. 5 Thomas Cromwell Corner, Portrait of Henry Walters, 1938, oil on canvas, The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore, 37.1682.
Fig. 6 Giovanni Antonio Galli, known as lo Spadarino, Saint Mary Magdalene, ca. 1625-35, oil on canvas, The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore, 37.651.
Fig. 7 Attributed to Bartolomeo Manfredi, Christ Crowned with Thorns, ca. 1620, oil on canvas, Michele and Donald D’Amour Museum of Fine Arts, Springfield.
Notes 1-27
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A First “Caravaggio” for Harvard

The first supposedly real Caravaggio entered an American public institution in 1924. Harvard’s Fogg Art Museum received as a gift from some of its distinguished staff and patrons (Herbert Pope, Arthur Pope, Edward W. Forbes, and Paul J. Sachs) the powerful Martyrdom of St. Sebastian (fig. 8). The painting had been with Cesare Laurenti in Venice in 1918 and then with the International Art Center created by the expatriate Russian artist Nicholas Roerich in New York from 1922-23.[28] Longhi quickly questioned the attribution, and it is now universally accepted as a fine example by Giovanni Battista Caracciolo, based on a model by Titian and revealing, as Richard Spear has written, “the complete stylistic transformation which a Venetian prototype underwent in the mind of a Caravaggesque painter.”[29]

Fig. 8 Giovanni Battista Caracciolo, The Martyrdom of Saint Sebastian, ca. 1625, oil on canvas, Harvard Art Museums / Fogg Museum, Gift of Herbert Pope, Arthur Pope, Edward W. Forbes and Paul J. Sachs, Photo © President and Fellows of Harvard College, 1924.31.

It was appropriate for the Harvardians to make this addition of a seventeenth-century work to their mostly Renaissance collection, since Harvard was then in the forefront of reforming American taste for the generally reviled art of the Baroque. This movement was led first by Professor Chandler Post and then, by Arthur McComb, who joined the faculty in 1927 and in 1934 published the first significant book on the subject written in this country.[30] Nevertheless, only the Fogg’s senior staff seem to have also handled the museum’s next “Caravaggio” purchase. It was a Cardsharps (fig. 9), from an English private family, which was first seen by the Fogg’s associate director, Paul J. Sachs, at Durlacher Brothers in London in June 1928. In order to decide on it, the painting was reserved for a viewing by the museum’s director, Edward Forbes. According to the manager of Durlacher’s New York branch, Adam Paff, Forbes thought “the Caravaggio a magnificent piece of painting although I am not sure that he likes it.”[31] Forbes did in fact like it and wished to acquire it for £1700 (about $13,000). Sachs, who seems to have been in control of the museum’s finances, cabled back that he did approve the purchase and in lieu of funds in hand would pay the following February out of the new Friends of the Fogg Fund.[32] Mr. Paff wrote to Sachs, “I am delighted to think that the picture will be in the Fogg Museum and hope it will give a well deserved boost to the 17th century school.”[33]

Fig. 9 Follower of Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio, The Card Players, 17th cen., oil on canvas, Harvard Art Museums/Fogg Museum, Friends of the Fogg Art Museum Fund, Photo © President and Fellows of Harvard College, 1929.253.

Professor McComb first published a mention of the recent acquisition – “the only Caravaggio in America” – in Parnassus [34] and then followed with an article in the Fogg Art Museum Notes, describing it as “an authentic masterpiece by one of the greatest seicento artists which must rank among the most important acquisitions in the museum’s history… though anecdotal and trivial in subject, the beauty of the color, lighting, and arrangement is such that we are hardly in any literal way aware of the episode represented.”[35] This Cardsharps, although eventually downgraded,[36] achieved temporary acceptance and fame through its inclusion in some notable books and exhibitions.[37] One was in 1929, when in conjunction with the course he was teaching, Professor McComb organized at the Fogg an exhibition of Italian Baroque Art, which the Burlington Magazine rightly identified as “the first exhibition of its kind in America.” This serious, if modest, exhibition consisted of loans drawn from Boston area collections.[39]

McComb’s exhibition may be said to mark the beginning of the major reappraisal of 17th -century Italian painting that was to take place for the remainder of the 20th century, and there have since been innumerable publications and exhibitions about Caravaggio. A major shift in the appreciation of the painter took place with the publication by the distinguished Renaissance scholar at New York University’s Institute of Fine Arts, Walter Friedlaender, of his ground-breaking book Caravaggio Studies in 1955 (fig. 10).[40]  As Leo Steinberg, a renowned younger generation art historian, in his review of the professor’s book observed, “Most of us were brought up to regard Caravaggio as an uncomfortable fact…But strange to say Caravaggio’s realism no longer disturbs us.”[41]  One of the reasons for this change was the appearance of actual, original works by the artist in public American institutions. Thus, the present essay is perhaps the first to focus on the seven authentic paintings by this master which have entered American museums. Almost each purchase was fraught with difficulties and complications, so it is a tribute to the tenacious directors, curators, and conservators, the devoted art dealers, and the independent art historians and scholars who collaborated, sometimes contentiously, to achieve this remarkable accomplishment.

Fig. 10 Cover of the first edition of Walter Friedlaender, Caravaggio Studies, 1955, New York
Notes 28-41
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Hartford to the Fore

All of the activity at Harvard had greater ramifications in the art world, especially on one former Harvard undergraduate, who also became a museum director. This was A. Everett Austin, Jr., (fig. 11) known universally as “Chick,” who in 1927, through the recommendation of Mr. Forbes, was appointed director of the Wadsworth Atheneum in Hartford, Connecticut. Although a very old institution, it had very little in the way of distinguished European paintings, but the near simultaneous arrival of the generous Sumner bequest for the purchase of fine paintings gave Austin the opportunity to develop a remarkable collection founded upon the two chief pillars of his interests — modern art on the one hand and old masters, especially Baroque art, on the other. In 1922 when on his way to do archaeological work in Egypt, his ship had docked in Italy, Austin took advantage of the week’s stay there to visit the large, groundbreaking exhibition of Italian Baroque art held at the Pitti Palace in Florence.[42] Austin’s taste was molded by this experience, and among the first acquisitions he made as director of the Wadsworth Atheneum were works by Salvatore Rosa and Luca Giordano.[43]

Fig. 11 Anonymous, Chick Austin, ca. 1931, Photolithograph, Art Institute of Chicago, 1990.565.43

Then, to show these works in proper context and further promote the appreciation of the Baroque period, especially for the sake of his dubious trustees, Austin decided, on rather short notice, to organize in 1930 what would be America’s first significant exhibition of Baroque paintings and drawings. Running for only two weeks, this was Italian Art of the Sei- and Settecento, which was to be a much wider ranging loan show than the earlier one at the Fogg. The local newspaper hailed it as “the most notable exhibition of Italian baroque art ever held in America…with more than 60 paintings and 70 drawings as well as several pieces of Italian furniture of the period.”[44] Three paintings identified as by Caravaggio and one by a follower were included (fig. 12), and, as Professor McComb, whom Austin enlisted to write for the exhibition catalogue and the Atheneum’s Bulletin, noted in his review of the exhibition:

The naturalistic trend in the Seicento is represented by the Caravaggio Card Players newly acquired by the Fogg Museum, a work in beautiful condition in his genre manner from ca. 1595; the singularly attractive Head of a Young Boy (fig. 13) lent by Wildenstein; a half-length David (fig. 14) lent by the Ehrich Galleries, reminiscent of the David in the Vienna Kunsthistorisches Museum; and by the Fogg St. Sebastian which we must attribute to a follower of the master.[45]

Fig. 12 Installation view (detail) of Exhibition of Italian Painting of the Sei- and Settecento, 1930. Photograph Collection, RG9_1_F3249a, Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art Archives, Hartford, CT
Fig. 13 Master of the Open-Mouthed Boys, Head of a Boy, ca. 1620-25, oil on canvas, The Wadsworth Atheneum Musuem of Art, Hartford, 1930.12. Photo by Yuan Fang
Fig. 14 Photo of David attributed to (Michelangelo Merisi) Caravaggio from Ehrich Galleries, 1930. Photograph Collection, RG9_1_F3249b, Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art Archives, Hartford, CT

And in the museum’s own Bulletin Austin observed:

Caravaggio was a revolutionary. Never before the 1590s had anyone in Italy painted so strictly from life, with so singular a regard for the observed reality. These unusually dark shadows too, which we may observe in the Card Players were a feature of his style faithfully imitated by his pupils… One of these was the painter of the Fogg St. Sebastian.[46]

Some sense of the impact that even these modest Caravaggesque works had on visitors to the exhibition can be gauged from the review written by Austin’s friend and oft-times collaborator, the professor and noted architectural historian, Henry-Russell Hitchcock, Jr.:

More novel to many was the revelation of exquisite quality in detail that appeared particularly in the small head by Caravaggio, loaned by Messrs. Wildenstein…[It] was indeed of a perfection that one associates rather with the Holland or the Spain than the Italy of the seventeenth century. Caravaggio was more typically illustrated by a larger canvas of Two Boys Playing Cards, loaned by the Fogg Art Museum. This was scarcely less perfect in execution and more marked in its subject matter by Caravaggio’s power as an innovator to which his chiaroscuro lent such dramatic support.[47]

The local Hartford art critic also wrote “the Portrait of a Young Boy while a small piece is undoubtedly one of the finest paintings in the show.”[48] Thus, one can understand why Austin was so taken by this “Caravaggio Boy” (fig. 13) that a few days before the exhibition was to end he cabled Wildenstein & Company to ask what the “lowest possible price” would be for it. The answer he received was $7,500. Austin in turn cabled back, “Trustees willing to pay $6,500 for Caravaggio Head. Could you possibly sell it for that?” Wildenstein’s answer on February 18 was, “Desirous to please you and your trustees will make special effort and accept your offer.” Austin wrote the next day to Felix Wildenstein, “Thank you very much for your acceptance of our offer. The trustees felt that in comparison to the Fogg Caravaggio the price of this one was somewhat higher than they thought they should pay, but I was so anxious to get the picture that they said they would agree to it if you would reduce the price to this extent.” Mr. Wildenstein responded the very next day, “I was delighted to have been able to meet your Trustees’ views and to have placed this excellent picture in the permanent collection of your Museum. You have made a splendid acquisition.”[49]

Unfortunately, over the years the splendor somewhat diminished, as it became clear that both the Fogg and the Atheneum paintings were not by Caravaggio. Although it is still exhibited (fig. 15), the latter is most likely by a French artist of the seventeenth century sometimes called “The Master of the Open-Mouthed Boys.” [50]

Fig. 15 The Wadsworth "Caravaggio boy" on display in recent years © Alamy / Naum Chayer
Notes 42-50
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“Caravaggio” Purchases by and Gifts to American Museums

Other questionable paintings with the name Caravaggio attached to them continued to enter American museum collections from the late 1930s through the early 1960s. In 1937 the Detroit Institute of Arts acquired a Fruit Vendor (fig. 16) which had a provenance of Italian and English collections and had been sold at Christie’s, London in 1820 as by Caravaggio. On the London art market in the 1930s it was purchased by a Count V. P. Zubow of Riga, Latvia. He then sold it in 1935 to the Milan dealer Jacob Heimann, who in turn sold it in 1936 for $7,000.10 to what was then called the Detroit Museum of Art Founders Society with payment coming from the Edsel B. Ford Fund.[51] Mr. Ford is listed in the museum’s provenance as the donor of the painting to the museum. There the distinguished curator and later director, E. P. Richardson, wrote a detailed article supporting its attribution to Caravaggio.[52] This view, as was to be true of other works during these years, had previously been made by the German scholar Hermann Voss,[53] and it is indeed a wonderful painting. However, as was first already suggested by Longhi in 1943,[54]  and restated by Creighton Gilbert in 1960,[55] it is by the unidentified Pensionante del Saraceni and was exhibited as such in the great Mostra del Caravaggio of 1951 in Milan.[56]

Fig. 16 Pensionante del Saraceni, The Fruit Vendor, ca. 1615-20, oil on canvas, Detroit Institute of Arts, 36.10.

By coincidence, among the 375 paintings of the magnificent Samuel H. Kress collection given in 1939 to the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D. C., was another impressive Still Life (fig. 17) identified at the time of the gift as a Caravaggio.[57] Purchased by the omnivorous collector from Contini Bonacossi in 1935, it had been attributed to Caravaggio beginning in 1915 by Fiocco and was subsequently accepted by Venturi, Longhi, Suida, and Berenson. Alan Burroughs expressed doubts and Friedlaender rejected it. Then in 1961 René Julian first suggested the painting was by Pensionante del Saraceni, an idea also proposed by Benedict Nicolson in 1970 and finally accepted in a National Gallery of Art publication in 1973.[58]

Fig. 17 Pensionante del Saraceni, Still Life with Fruit and Carafe, ca. 1610/20, oil on canvas, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 1939.1.159.

A more problematic work also ascribed by Voss to Caravaggio and sold by Jacob Heimann was the Portrait of a Woman (fig. 18), which entered the San Diego Museum of Art in 1942 as a gift of the Putnam sisters.[59] It has had a checkered history, being accepted by some scholars as an early Caravaggio and rejected by others, such as Longhi.[60] Ultimately, the painting was deaccessioned by the museum and sold at Sotheby’s, New York in 2021, where it was described as a “fascinating and enigmatic portrait” by a “Roman artist active in the ambit of the young Caravaggio, circa 1590-1600.”[61]

Quite different is the case of the still life of Poppies in a Wine Flask (fig.19) acquired by the Boston Museum of Fine Arts in 1950. It has an inscription of Caravaggio’s name at the lower right and an impressive provenance, having been from the seventeenth century in the collection of Viscount de L’Isle and Dudley, Penshurst Place, Kent. Discovered by Hans Dietrich, it was with the dealer/scholar Grete Ring of London when seen by the museum’s curator of decorative art and sculpture, Hanns Swarzenski. He was enthusiastic about the painting, believing the subject had “Dionysiac symbolic connotations” and that it was “typical of Caravaggio’s temperament and vision.”[62] He persuaded the museum’s curator of paintings, W.G. Constable, to have it sent to Boston for examination. Swarzenski was convinced that this was one of the artist’s earliest works and after its acquisition published it as such.[63] Bernard Berenson followed his lead, but most scholars in the field noted its similarity to works by Cagnacci, and today it is simply called “Roman 17th Century.”[64]

Fig. 18 Roman Artist active in the ambit of the young Caravaggio, Portrait of a Woman, half length, ca. 1590-1600, oil on canvas, sold at Sotheby’s, New York, Master Paintings, 20 May 2021, lot 3.
Fig. 19 Unidentified 17th century Roman Artist, Poppies in a Wine Flask, oil on canvas, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 50.651.

In 1958 the High Museum in Atlanta, Georgia acquired from Wildenstein and Co. as a Caravaggio a Boy with a Carafe of Roses (fig. 20). Its composition corresponds to a description of a work that in 1603 was in the Borghese collection. This one came from private collections in England and Paris, and both Venturi and Voss followed by a number of other experts had endorsed the painting.[65] However, it was rejected by Alfred Moir in 1967 and then Richard Spear in 1971 definitively identified it as a copy, an opinion with which even Marini concurs.[66]

Two years later, the Worcester Art Museum purchased from the dealer Julius Weitzner a St. Jerome (fig. 21), clearly of the Caravaggio school that had been with Giuliano Briganti and the restorer Pico Cellini in Rome. Already in 1965 it was exhibited at Vassar College in the provocative exhibition Problem Pictures: Paintings Without Authors, as a school piece.[67] Richard Spear published the work as “Anonymous” suggesting that it was of Northern European origin and noted that the only attribution to Caravaggio himself recorded in the museum’s files had been made by Maurizio Marini.[68] ❖

To be continued…
Fig. 20 Follower of Caravaggio, Boy with Carafe of Roses, oil on canvas, High Museum of Art, 58.1.
Fig. 21 Follower of Caravaggio, The Vision of Saint Jerome, first half of the 1600s, oil on canvas, Worcester Art Museum, 1960.13.
Notes 51-68
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Eric M. Zafran was most recently curator of European Art at the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art in Hartford, Connecticut from 1997-2012. He curated exhibitions ranging from Gauguin, Ballet Russes, to Masters of French Paintings – coincidentally, his first and last shows there were on Caravaggio. For over twenty years he has also held curatorial positions at the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore, MFA Boston, the High Museum in Atlanta, and the Chrysler Museum, Norfolk.
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