CARAVAGGIO: the taking of Christ from the Ruffo collection

Date: Oct 14th 2023 – Jan 14th 2024                    Location: Palazzo Chigi – Ariccia (RM).

Curator: Francesco Petrucci.

A new painting by Caravaggio, the first version of the famous composition “The Taking of Christ,” is being exhibited to the public for the first time after being rediscovered and restored. The work will be on view at Palazzo Chigi in Ariccia from Oct. 14, 2023 to Jan. 7, 2024. This work, originally exhibited in 1951 in Milan, has been carefully restored and studied, confirming its authenticity and attribution to Caravaggio due to its high quality and significant changes revealed by diagnostic investigations. The work, which is of considerable interest to the national cultural heritage, was notified by the Italian state in 2004.
The history of “The Taking of Christ” is full of troubled collecting events, including a long and controversial legal dispute.

The exhibition documents the prestigious provenance of the canvas, which includes the Mattei, Colonna di Stigliano and Ruffo di Calabria collections, up to and including the current owner, and compares two main versions of the composition, that of the Ruffo collection and that of the Jesuit Company of Dublin. “The Taking of Christ” is one of the most intense and dramatic works of Caravaggio’s Roman period, parallel to the canvases in the Contarelli and Cerasi chapels, marking a turning point in his artistic production.

The exhibition reconstructs Caravaggio’s atelier in Palazzo Chigi, with lighting that reflects historical conditions, and includes informative and educational panels explaining the copies and the history of the composition. Related works by other Renaissance artists are also featured. The exhibition is organized by Glocal Project Consulting, known for promoting art events internationally, and enjoys the support of the Meeting del Mare Foundation – C.R.E.A., the BCC Foundation of the Castelli Romani and Tuscolo, and the cultural association “Comitato di San Floriano” of Illegio.