Painting to Hang; Says It Was Framed
Rome, Italy (AP) – In a case of art imitating life without parole, a Caravaggio painting that fell off a museum wall and killed a visitor has been sentenced to hang, more or less in the same place it had been hanging all along. The painting insists it has been framed.
An attorney for the chiaroscuro masterpiece The Crucifixion of Saint Peter, which was created in 1601, brushed aside accusations that his client had deliberately inflicted damage on the victim’s skull, calling the charges “off the wall.” He said the case casts a dark shadow on the judicial system, and has promised to canvass his peers and agitate for reforms.
Prosecutors say to color them unimpressed. “All the protestation of innocence are (re)touching, but this is basically a black-and-white issue,” said a spokesman for the Italian State Attorney’s office. “The defendant strikes the pose of the innocent victim, but anyone without a foreshortened perspective can see easel-y that under that thin Vermeer of a model citizen lies a far darker portrait,” he remarked, adding that the victim’s mannerisms may have provoked the act.
The painting’s attorney posited that some evidence against his client had been forged, and conceded that doing so convincingly would require a stroke of genius. He called the prospect of convincing a gallery of jurors of that point un-palette-able. “It conjures up shades of the unsavory,” he said. “And the system is not Baroque, but we nevertheless must fix it.”
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