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At the time of the discovery, Maurizio Marini, a leading Caravaggio scholar, expressed doubts about the authenticity of the work in an interview with The Associated Press. He concurred with Insonlera who noted that St. Lawrence was not a known Caravaggio subject. And he said the stylistic similarities were inconclusive and that claims of new Caravaggios often surface but seldom hold up.

Caravaggio died in the Tuscan coast town of Porto Ercole in 1610 at age 39 under mysterious circumstances. He had been hugely influential and famous, but had also led a dissolute life of street brawls and alcohol.

Recently, a team of Italian researchers said they had identified Caravaggio’s remains after a year of digging up bones in Porto Ercole and conducting carbon dating, DNA testing and other analyses.

Italy has been marking the anniversary with a variety of events, and an exhibit in Rome earlier this year drew over half a million visitors.


Associated Press reporter Alessandra Rizzo contributed to this report.