A woman looks at \'The raising of Lazarus\' by Caravaggio
A Caravaggio masterpiece, \"The Raising of Lazarus,\" went on show Friday at Rome\'s Museo di Roma after a meticulous seven-month restoration. One of the Renaissance master\'s most important works,
it was painted in Sicily soon after he fled from Malta, where he had taken refuge after being sentenced to death for killing a love rival in Rome.
The painting was commissioned in 1608 by Genovese merchant Giovan Battista Lazzari and hung in the family chapel.
Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio died two years later, aged 39.
The restoration was carried out by the Higher Institute of Restoration and Conservation with the support of Italy\'s culture ministry and in agreement with the regional museum of Messina, in eastern Sicily, the work\'s home.
Some experts say Caravaggio, the master of the \"chiaro-scuro\" technique -- the contrast of shadow and light -- included himself in the darkened background of the scene, appearing just behind Christ\'s outstretched arm as he exhorts Lazarus to \"get up and walk\".
The work is considered among the most representative of Caravaggio\'s \"chiaro-scuro\" (light and dark) technique perfected at the end of his life, with the light symbolising divine grace.
The work was already restored once in 1951, but the second renovation used modern methods and materials, the museum said.
Caravaggio, known as one of history\'s most tormented painters, was involved in frequent brawls and vicious beatings.
He died of fever as he was returning to Rome and was buried in a mass grave.
\"The Raising of Lazarus\" will be on display at the Museo di Roma until mid-July when it will return to Messina.