A couple of Italian art historians claim to have found 100 sketches done by Caravaggio when he was an apprentice in Milan in the 1580s. Other Italian art historians say it’s all uno schifo. (Look it up. Figuratively it’s something you might be unhappy to find on your shoe…) I like the idea of getting a look at anything Caravaggio did. Still, I love what he did later, when his life was lived without any facade. When he was on the run from a sentence of death after 1605, he painted in a style way ahead of his time and with an emotional depth that has never been surpassed by any artist in any format. It isn’t only his mysterious end that made me want to write “A NAME IN BLOOD,” my new Caravaggio novel. It was his magnificent and revealing work. Much like Mozart, about whom I wrote my previous novel, “MOZART’S LAST ARIA,” the fact that Caravaggio died prematurely (and in circumstances mysterious enough to make him grist for my crime-novelistic mill) only makes everything he did before that still more valuable.
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