April 12–June 15, 2014

Visiting Masterpieces

Caravaggio and Connoisseurship

Enjoy a rare opportunity to see four paintings by, or attributed to, Caravaggio

Take sides in an intense debate among leading authorities on Italian art and learn the possible answers to the question: What makes a Caravaggio? “Visiting Masterpieces: Caravaggio and Connoisseurship” introduces visitors to the art of judging whether a Caravaggio is, in fact, a Caravaggio. Four works never before seen in Boston provide an inside look at the complexities of connoisseurship and attribution. Caravaggio’s Fortune Teller (about 1594–95) and Fra Antonio Martelli, Knight Grand Cross of the Order of Malta (about 1608), once doubted by experts, are now considered benchmark works by this artist. Two more paintings—Maffeo Barberini (about 1596) and Saint Francis in Meditation (about 1595)—are at the center of ongoing debates. Organized by the Muscarelle Museum of Art, the exhibition allows visitors to employ the analytical thinking of experts and decide for themselves: which could be true Caravaggios? Visitors are encouraged to tweet their opinions using the hashtag #TrueCaravaggio and follow @mfaboston for conversation about the paintings.

Above: Caravaggio, The Fortune Teller, about 1594–95. Oil on canvas. Musei Capitolini Pinocateca, Rome.

  • Lee Gallery (Gallery 154)


The exhibition is organized by the Muscarelle Museum of Art in collaboration with MetaMorfosi associazione Culturale and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, with the support of the Patrimonio del Fondo Edifici di Culto, amministrato dal Ministero dell’Interno – Dipartimento per le Libertá Civili e l’Immigrazione – Direzione Centrale per l’Amministrazione del Fondo Edifici di Culto, and under the auspices of the City of Carpineto Romano.