Imagine going to fix a leak in the roof of your house, and finding a lost Caravaggio instead. That apparently is what happened to a French family in Toulouse two years ago. The picture, below, Judith and Holofernes, has been researched by the French art expert and auctioneer Eric Turquin, and he has assembled a number of art historians who have pronounced the picture genuine.
We all know Caravaggio painted a Judith and Holofernes in about 1598/9. That painting (below) is in Rome:
Now apparently Caravaggio had painted another version of Judith and Holofernes because Caravaggio’s contemporary, Louis Finson (a Flemish painter), paints a copy of it when he has the original in his studio in Naples 1607. However how do we know Finson painted a copy of Caravaggio’s second Judith and Holofernes? This letter narrates that the artist Frans Pourbus witness Caravaggio’s second Judith in Finson’s studio, (which is in French, but you can translate it on Google): letter
here’s a video from M. Turquin about the discovery (in French). He says that there is a pentimenti in the hand, where you can see an extra finger (which would be very helpful in proving the picture is not a copy). I’ve taken a screen grab of the area below. But I see no extra finger – it’s just a brush stroke.
Let’s stay tuned…