Friday, 15 April 2016


* Well, possibly.

As the art world continues to wait with bated breath for the official authentication of a recently dicovered masterpiece by iconic Renaissance painter Michelangelo Merisi da Carvaggio (of “Medusa” fame), French antiquarian and renaissance arts expert Eric Turquin announced Wednesday that the work - if indeed an original - could fetch at auction at least 120 million Euros (approx. £100m), his estimated value on the recently acquired piece.

Could this be an authentic Caravaggio? Only time will tell.
The painting, described by Turquin as being in an “exceptional state of conservation” is dated somewhere between 1600 and 1610 and is believed to be Caravaggio’s second depiction of the biblical Judith beheading Holofernes (the original version now lays on display at the Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Antica in Rome.

Caravaggio's famous "Medusa"
Caravaggio, known for depicting gruesome subject matter, seemed to take a shine to the deuterocanonical Book of Judith, in particular the legendary slaying by Judith of Assyrian general Holofernes by decapitation as he fell under the parasomnic effects of drink (which Judith had supplied to the ‘enemy of the Hebrews’ in abundance).[1] 

The grisly painting was discovered by fateful chance in 2014 at Toulouse in the Haute-Garonne region in France in the attic of an unidentified family home as workers hired to fix a leak in the residence “broke [down] a door” (for which the owners of the home did not have a key) only to discover the hidden gem propped up against a wall.

Whilst there has been scant information about the family who, perhaps unknowingly possessed the artwork, Turquin believes than an ancestor to one of the residents may have acquired the painting whilst fighting as a soldier under French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte, and surmised that the Officer’s wife may have found the image so distasteful she ordered her husband to remove it from the home.

The image is reported to have been tucked away in the Toulouse home for over 150 years.

Discover more about this acquisition in the links below:

"Il Prete Rosso" Antonio Vivaldi
In honor of this recent update issued by Turquin (as per the estimated value of the piece), I present to the reader one of my all time favorite Coro (Choruses) from an Oratorio of the same subject matter by Italian baroque composer and virtuoso violinist Antonio Vivaldi, entitled “Arma, Caedes, Vindictae, Furores” (literally “Weapons, Carnage, Vengeance and Fury”) as performed by I Barocchisti and the Coro della Radio Svizzera under the direction of Swiss conductor Diego Fasolis.[2]

To my taste, there is no greater interpretation of this testosterone-fueled masterpiece than that of Fasolis’. The audibly accelerating timpani during the introduction of Fasolis' Arma just gets in your blood - and makes it boil in the most epic of battle cries ever recorded.

This piece is perfect for that gym enthusiast looking to step up his or her game into high gear:


[1]Book of Judith, Chapter 13:9-10:
“[9] And when she had drawn it out, she took him by the hair of his head, and said: Strengthen me, O Lord God, at this hour. [10] And she struck twice upon his neck, and cut off his head, and took off his canopy from the pillars, and rolled away his headless body.”
[2]Vivaldi’s early-18th century Oratorio Juditha triumphans devicta Holofernis barbarie (Judith Triumphant over the Barbarian Holofernes) was originally composed for an all female casting (as sung by the young women at Italy’s Ospedale della Pietà wherein he possessed a teaching outfit at the time). The work has often been performed and recorded in this manner, and whilst still making a notable impact unto the listener, it is my belief that Diego’s integration of males to what was originally required to be an all-female ensemble adds more than the right amount of war-fueled, testosterone-immersed gusto to the piece, making it perfectly suited for both subject matter and libretto:

"Arma, caedes, vindictae, furores,
Angustiae, timores
Precedite nos.
O bellicae sortes,
Mille plagas,
Mille mortes
Adducite vos."

"Let weapons, carnage, vengeance, fury,
famine and fear
go before us.
Encircle us,
give battle,
you Fates of War:
Inflict a thousand wounds,
a thousand deaths."

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