ROME—In 1610, the Italian painter Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio perished in a Mediterranean port town. His body was never found, and the cause of his death has been debated ever since. Four hundred years later, Silvano Vinceti says he’s close to solving the mystery.
Silvano Vinceti is determined to get to the bottom of the death of Caravaggio, the Italian painter who died 400 years ago. WSJ’s Margherita Stancati reports on the television producer’s quest to solve one of the art world’s enduring mysteries. For many months, Mr. Vinceti and a team of scientists have been exhuming remains they believe are Caravaggio’s in hopes of performing a belated autopsy. After digging up dozens of bodies, Mr. Vinceti has narrowed the field to a handful of long-buried corpses. He is now using a battery of tests, including carbon-dating technology, in hopes of eventually comparing the unearthed bones with the DNA of a Caravaggio relative whom Mr. Vinceti is also hunting down. “I’m following my instincts. You’ve got to have a nose for these things,” Mr. Vinceti says, tapping his right nostril, amid a sea of case files in his cluttered underground studio. Mr. Vinceti, 60 years old, has made a career of poking around history’s dark corners. He dug up the remains of Dante Alighieri to digitally reconstruct the medieval poet’s face. He penetrated the stone surface of a Florentine basilica to exhume the Italian humanist Pico della Mirandola to measure his skull. He plucked the body of Petrarch from a tomb, only to discover the poet’s head had been swiped and replaced with the skull of a young girl…. READ MORE ON WALL STREET JOURNAL