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Last Updated: Tuesday, 17 February, 2004, 17:11 GMT
Gallery defends Caravaggio work
The work has been a major visitor attraction at the gallery
The work has been a major visitor attraction at the gallery
The National Gallery of Ireland has said it is confident one of its most important paintings is authentic.

Italian art expert Maria Letizia Paoletti had said a dealer in Rome had the original of The Taking of Christ by Caravaggio.

Museum director Raymond Keaveney said the painting was definitely by the celebrated artist, who died in 1610.

"The attribution has been unanimously accepted by experts ever since its discovery in August 1990," he said.

Painted in 1602, the Gallery's artwork started off in Rome, then was sold to Scotland, before ending up in Ireland.

Visitor attraction

It was found hanging in the dining room of a Roman Catholic Jesuit order house in Dublin - where it had been since the 1930s - by Sergio Benedetti, the museum's head curator and expert on 17th century Italian art.

The work has been a major visitor attraction at the gallery since it was put on display there 14 years ago.

Mr Keaveney said the National Gallery had known of the Rome painting since 1951.

He added "no major authority" had questioned Mr Benedetti's November 1993 conclusion that the Gallery had the genuine artwork.

Mr Benedetti has suggested that both canvases be shown at an exhibition in Milan to which the Gallery's painting is being loaned later this year.

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