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Last Updated: Wednesday, 3 November, 2004, 11:24 GMT
Caravaggio works come to London
Caravaggio's The Supper at Emmaus, 1606.

A Caravaggio exhibition focusing on the last four years of the Italian artist's life is to go on display at the National Gallery next year.

Fifteen major works by the famous painter can be seen at the London gallery between 23 February and 22 May.

His final years were tumultuous - he was on the run for murder in 1606 and mysteriously died four years later.

The exhibition will include his Adoration of the Shepherds, never lent outside Italy before.

It will begin with one version of The Supper at Emmaus, already owned by the National Gallery, which was painted in 1601.

It will be shown alongside a darker, more introspective version of the same scene, painted in 1606, just after Caravaggio fled Rome.


Other paintings will include Flagellation from the Museo di Capodimonte in Naples, Sleeping Cupid, on loan from Florence's Galleria Palatina, and the Crucifixion of St Andrew, which belongs to the Cleveland Museum of Art in the US.

The show has been organised with the help of the Polo Museale in Naples.

Caravaggio is famed for his use of light and shade in his work and is considered to be one of Italy's greatest artists.

Over the years, scholars have advanced many theories about his death - among the most common are that he was assassinated for religious reasons, and that he collapsed with malaria on a deserted beach.

Some scholars believe he died from typhus.

He was allegedly on his way to Rome to seek a pardon when he died.

He was born in 1571 or 1573, depending on which history text one reads, and spent the last few years of his life fleeing justice in southern Italy.

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