The Caravaggio painting, The Taking of Christ or The Kiss of Judas, was recently recovered in Berlin after four members of a reputed international gang of art thieves attempted to sell it. Stolen in July 2008 from the Museum of Western and Eastern Art in Odessa, Ukraine, the Caravaggio painting was cut from its frame after thieves bypassed the museum's antiquated alarm system.
The Taking of Christ shows Jesus immediately after being kissed and betrayed by Judas (hence the painting's alternative title, The Kiss of Judas); soldiers drag Jesus away as his disciples observe in horror. As is true of so many Caravaggio paintings, there is disagreement here - some art history experts contend it is merely a student's copy of the identically-titled Caravaggio painting housed in the National Gallery of Ireland (left).
Nor is controversy limited just to Caravaggio paintings. Efforts to identify his bones -- four centuries after his mysterious demise - are riling the art history community. A group of Italian researchers, headed by Silvano Vinceti, announced last week they are "100% certain" they've identified the bones of the famous painter. These fragments may be seen in Porto Ercole, Italy, where they are displayed on a red velvet cushion in a transparent box. (Read more details about Caravaggio's bones" target="_blank">Caravaggio's bones here).
An indication of the controversy comes from Keith Christiansen, the Met's curator of Italian and French painting, who commented, "I don’t see why anyone would be remotely interested in finding Caravaggio’s bones. I thought relic worship went out with the Middle Ages.”
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