The Taking of Christ, the mysterious Caravaggio returns to Naples


The Taking of Christ, the mysterious Caravaggio returns to Naples

After 194 years , The Taking of Christ by Caravaggio ( 1602 ) from the Ruffo collection returns to Naples, on display at the Banco di Napoli Foundation until 16 June. The exhibition follows the preview at Palazzo Chigi in Ariccia after the restoration intervention also through diagnostic investigations and presents the work as the first version of the mysterious masterpiece.

The exhibition is curated by Francesco Petrucci and Don Gianni Citro, president of the Meeting del Mare Crea Foundation. “The Taking of Christ exhibited in the rooms of Palazzo Ricca is the most important discovery of Caravaggio's work in recent decades due to the complexity of composition and for the spiritual contents it expresses”, says Petrucci. “The painting, which returns to Naples where it presumably remained in the Colonna di Stigliano collection until around 1830, is the first version of the Taking of Christ, then followed by the Dublin replica, which does not have the same expressive power and is much smaller and it does not have the black frame with gold guilloche.”

The Taking of Christ, known through 'two originals and fifteen copies', as stated in the same exhibition, is one of the most spiritually intense and pathos-rich compositions of Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio's Roman activity. Before Ariccia this painting had only been exhibited in 1951 at the historic Exhibition of Caravaggio and the Caravaggesques, curated by Roberto Longhi, at the Palazzo Reale in Milan. Twenty years ago it was purchased by the current owner Mario Bigetti.

Also visitable with the exhibition is the Cartastorie Museum where three important documents are kept which will intrigue enthusiasts: the commission from the merchant Nicolò Radolovich to Caravaggio for an altarpiece, dated 6 October 1606, the first certain evidence of Caravaggio's presence in Naples in escape from Rome; the payment for the construction of Seven works of Mercy, dated 9 January 1607; a document dated 11 May 1607 referring to the Flagellation, once in the Neapolitan church of San Domenico Maggiore.

The president of the Banco di Napoli Foundation, Orazio Abbamonte, and the president of the Cartastorie Archive Museum, Marcello D'Aponte, participated in the presentation.

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