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Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio was an Italian painter who lived from 1571 to 1610. His father comes from the town of Caravaggio, a town near Bergamo in Italy. He died at the age of 39, probably from malaria. His works are particularly characterized by a realistic image design that represents religious and everyday motifs.
The combination of attention to detail through the style of “realism” and an obliquely incident spotlight on figures and gestures was unique in painting at this time. The style of Caravaggism emerged that influenced many Baroque painters. Caravaggio made almost 50 oil paintings in his 20-year period from 1591 until his death.
The painting has the dimensions 268 x 197cm and is therefore unusually large. It hung over the altar of the Oratorio di San Lorenzo in Palermo until it was stolen. On October 18, 1969, unknown persons stole the painting. The canvas was probably cut out of the frame and rolled up. The Sicilian mafia became the main suspect, although there is no evidence. The whereabouts of the painting remain a mystery to this day. According to a detained Mafia member, the painting appears to have been stolen to support a clan boss in a shop. However, the painting is said to have been stored carelessly and then forgotten, so that it was badly weathered. Then it is said to have been destroyed or thrown away. If this sequence of events turns out to be true, it would be a scandal for all art lovers - and for the Italian mafia.