Dad’s financial woes have come to this. He decided to sell our Caravaggio. (I didn’t show it here).
We’ve had this miraculous original painting since my great-great grandfather bought it in Italy when he took the Grand Tour back in the late 1800’s.
It has always been one of my father’s favorite things – and with good reason. It’s worth a fortune. By the late 1800’s, Caravaggio was almost completely forgotten. Still, my great-great-grandfather knew about him, saw this work and managed to buy it for very little.
Over the years, I’ve sometimes found my father just sitting on a bench, staring at his painting.
It has always given him great pride to have an actual Caravaggio right in his own house. But the need for cash and the value of the artwork could no longer be denied.
So an appraiser was called up. He came by. He looked.
And it’s not a Caravaggio.
What a disaster, not only because the price just plummeted but because it’s not a masterpiece at all. It’s just a picture by some unknown guy.
First, Dad got mad at the appraiser.
Eventually, Dad was just furious with his ancestor.
“Nobody wanted real Caravaggios in the 1800s! They were probably using them as placemats! And our family member has to come home with this?!?”
So Dad didn’t sell it. He was humiliated that it was really worth so little. He was going to throw it out for all I knew.
But late last night, I went downstairs, and there was Dad back in his old spot on the bench, staring at the painting that was back in its place of honor. The room was completely dark, except for the little picture light.
My generation prizes name-brands above everything but my father, correctly, does not. The painting is still a wondrous work.
Yes, the artist was an unknown man, then and forever, but one who labored long hours in daylight and by candlelight to create an extraordinary thing still appreciated today by a man who, rightly, just values beauty.