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Search begins for Caravaggio's remains

16th December 2009

A high-tech search has been launched for the remains of one of the Renaissance's most famous artists.

Italian scientists are attempting to solve the 400-year puzzle of where Caravaggio's remains rest and are using DNA analysis, carbon dating and CAT scans in their bid to end the mystery.

Professor Maurizio Marini, an art historian, claims that the painter, who was known for his fiery temper and hard drinking, lies in the cemetery of small Tuscan town Porto Ercole.

The expert believes that the confusion over Caravaggio's last resting place is due to discrepancies in the local parish church list, which claims he died in 1609 rather than 1610.

Now, a team of anthropologists from the universities of Bologna and Ravenna led by Professor Marini will study around 40 sets of bones from the cemetery and compare DNA samples with the male descendants of the artist's brother.

Famous works by Caravaggio, who is known for his mastery of the chiaroscuro, or light and shade, painting technique, include David and Goliath, The Fortune Teller and The Sacrifice of Isaac.

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