Continued from page 1

“The leg looks like a frog’s leg. Caravaggio would never have made such a mistake,” said Marco Bona Castellotti, an art historian. Even as he saw the painting for the first time at Tuesday’s unveiling, he had no doubt it couldn’t be Caravaggio.

Experts believed the work may have been done by a follower, likely in Naples, Sicily or Malta _ all places where the painter spent time during his tumultuous life. Caravaggio died in a Tuscan coast town in 1610 in mysterious circumstances, and a group of Italian researchers said recently that they had identified his long-lost remains.

Silvano Vinceti, who led the research and recently co-wrote a book called “The Caravaggio Mystery,” noted that since Caravaggio did not sign his works _ save one known exception _ attempts at fakes and uncertain claims of authenticity have been frequent.

“The paradox is that there are attributions that don’t hold up, and then probably there are paintings by Caravaggio that we know nothing about,” he said.