The year 2010 marks 400 years since the death of one of Italy's most acclaimed and notorious artists, Caravaggio. Major exhibits across the country will pay homage to the great Mannerist maestro, born Michelangolo Merisi. Caravaggio celebrations kick off with a high-profile show in Rome's Le Scuderie del Quirinale, opening on February 18, which features 30 of the 40 authenticated masterworks by Caravaggio.
In addition to a selection of loans from museums around the world, among the show's highlights are the Uffizi Gallery's Bacchus, the two versions of the The Supper at Emmaus and the Deposition from the Musei Vaticani.
Other major Caravaggio-inspired exhibits expected to attract record crowds are scheduled for Florence and Rimini. Florence's Uffizi Gallery and Palazzo Pitti have teamed up for Caravaggio e i Caravaggeschi, opening in May, which will focus on work by the master and those who adopted his style. In October, Rimini's Castel Sismondo opens Caravaggio and other 17th-Century Painters, which will showcase masterpieces from the Wadsworth Atheneum in Hartford, Connecticut.
Italian scientists and art critics are using Caravaggio's anniversary to find out how the quick-tempered artists really died. It is widely believed that Caravaggio's remains are buried in a small chapel in the Tuscan town of Porto Ercole. Scientists exhumed the bones on December 22 to find out the artist's true cause of death and give him a more suitable burial place. The project to analyze the presumed remains is being led by anthropology professor Giorgio Grupponi, who also worked on the face reconstruction, unveiled in 2007, of famed poet Dante Alighieri.