GENOA, Italy, Oct. 19 (UPI) -- An Italian art expert says that a painting long thought to be a copy of a Caravaggio is an unfinished work by the master that was completed by others.
"The Crowning With Thorns" was stored in a church attic for decades and only recently restored, The Times of London reports.
Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio made two other paintings depicting Jesus being crowned with thorns at his crucifixion. The version in the church of San Bartolomeo della Certosa in Genoa was believed to be a copy of one stored in a bank in Prato, Italy.
Piero Donati told The Times that the figures of Jesus and the two Roman soldiers tormenting him are by "an exceptional artist" who must be Caravaggio.
"We do not know for certain how this painting got to Genoa," Donati said. "Perhaps Caravaggio took it with him to Genoa when he fled from Rome, or perhaps he painted it in Genoa to pay his debts to the Doria family for taking him in."
Caravaggio had a brief stormy career before his death in 1610. He left Rome in 1605 after a brawl.