Friday, August 29, 2014

Matryrdom of St John the Baptist

Caravaggio "Beheading of John the Baptist" Valletta, Malta
The commemoration of the martyrdom of St John the Baptist brings me back to Malta, where the most impressive painting of this scene is in the Cathedral of St John’s in Valletta, a masterpiece by Caravaggio, housed in the Oratory adjacent to the main Cathedral. It is visited by thousands of visitors and tourists daily. Its recent restoration began in April 1997 when it was sent to the Opificio delle Pietre Dure in Florence as the Comune di Firenze had offered to restore it. The whole project, which was a major operation, was financed by the Opificio itself. Restoration works were completed in June 1998 and the painting was exhibited at the del Carmine church, Florence. The painting returned to Malta in June 1999. 
Before and after restoration, the signature of Caravaggio
It is the only painting which was signed by Caravaggio, his signature seen in the trickle of blood coming from John’s decapitated head. His full name is Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio. Yet another painting, probably more graphic is that of Giovanni Battista Tiepolo.
'Beheading of St John the Baptist' by Giovanni Battista Tiepolo

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