The Sadistic Master Painter Encounters The Masochistic Saint:
Exhuming the Remains of Caravaggio & Saint Rose of Viterbo
On February 20th, 2019 a London art gallery officially announced that a 5 ft. tall x 6 ft. wide painting (shown above) that was found encrusted with grime and dust as well as stained by a water leak in the attic of a house in Toulouse, France in 2014 was a piece created by the man believed by many to be the most important artist from the Italian Renaissance, the master painter known as Caravaggio.
In 2010, a similar themed story emerged about the master painter that was far more personalized, given yet another find that was intimately associated with the life of this incomparable artist was re-discovered that year – his body.
In honor of the rediscovery of all and any things Caravaggesque, I present my 2010 piece written about exhuming the remains of both the master painter and those of the masochistic saint, Rose of Viterbo.
Indiana Bones & The Temple of Exhumes (written in June of 2010)
Saturn isn’t all about karmic punishment and nihilistic confinements of the soul, you know. There are those rare times when the ringed planet dons an explorer’s fedora and embarks upon an adventure involving the very stuff it rules over – hanks of skin and ground up bones.
OK, OK. So The Adventures of Indiana Bones does not involve jumping into a pit of vipers or blowing away scimitar-wielding assassins, but there are temples….of worship, which hold within their ancient walls the sought after treasures of a mummified corpse along with a bag of assorted bones found in an underground crypt of a mass grave.
And both Adventures occurred within 46 miles of each other and within a period of 5 days.
What is karmicly astounding about these adventures is how their discoveries relate to the astrological background of both famed persons in history and incorporate the energies of not only the two signs that Saturn bordered at that time but also of two other planets and their placement in the Heavens during that same period of re-discovery.
During this discovery-filled window of time, the planet of tangible human remains resided in the remaining degrees of the sign of religious orders, Virgo and subsequently entered the sign ruled by the Planet of High Art, Libra on July 22nd, 2010.
While this was occurring two other heavenly bodies of our Solar System had entered the sign of the physical body, Aries; the planet of Saints, Jupiter, and the planet which oversees cutting-edge scientific technology, Uranus.
The unifying theme and actual content of both discoveries involve evidence which lies under Saturn’s domain – human skin and bones. Besides ruling over restriction and fear, Saturn oversees anything considered “structural” – this includes the two main components that literally shape our bodies and prevent us from being simply organ-filled blobs; the outer structural casing of the skin and the inner scaffolding of our bones.
To complete this astrological climate of Saturnine adventure, when the findings were officially reported on June 11th and June 16th, 2010 Jupiter and Uranus were positioned in the Heavens at the first degree of Aries, or in astrological terms, both planets were placed at the “Cardinal Point” of Aries. When a planet(s) is positioned at a cardinal point, it is an indication of notoriety or creates an environment worthy of drawing the attention of society at large.
In the spring of 2010 both Jupiter and Uranus were positioned at a cardinal point in the sign associated with the physical body, Aries and their energies shed light on society’s limited knowledge regarding the cause of death of two notoriously famous figures in Italian history – the young Nun revered for her Mystic Poverty and gifts of Prophecy, Saint Rose of Viterbo, and an artist considered to be one of the most influential oil painters of all time, whose work displayed his mastery of lighting and extreme detail, Caravaggio.
To cram both venerated historical figures’ lives to just a few sentences:
St. Rose of Viterbo
Living only until the age of 18, Rose of Viterbo attacked her short life as a devoted ascetic with the fiercest of faith. She is said to have performed miracles at the ripe old ages of 3 and 7 and was preaching in the streets, having taken the most severe vows of poverty with her religious order by the age of 10. Although her denial of the sensual world is seen by those in the modern day as masochistic, Rose openly embraced her mystical abilities such as the gift of prophecy and the ability to communicate with birds. Believing her canonization to be imminent at the time of her early death, Franciscan monks laid young Sister Rose in an air tight glass box, causing her teenage body to naturally mummify (See Slideshow).
On June 11th, 2010 scientists determined the cause of Rose’s death, which has been shrouded in mystery due to her young age. The nun died of a rare heart defect known as Cantrell’s Syndrome. This congenital cardiac condition eventually caused a fatal obstruction, as evidenced by a dark spot on Rose’s well-preserved mummified heart which was detected by the most cutting edge X-Ray technology of the 21st century (See Slideshow).
Astrological Significance Regarding St. Rose’s Remains
Using modern technology, Scientists have been able to determine the dates of St. Rose’s life, starting with her birth on September 4th, 1235 and ending with her death on March 6th, 1252. When looking at the range of dates astrologically, they are in almost exact opposition, where The Sun is on one side of the Earth on the first date and on the opposite side on the 2nd. Although still a teenager when she died, astrologically Rose’s dates of life indicate a time on earth that was fully lived. Her last words to her father may support this thought:
“I die with joy, for I desire to be united to my God. Live so as not to fear death. For those who live well in the world, death is not frightening, but sweet and precious.”
With her date of birth being the 4th of September, St. Rose was born a Virgo. The sign of Virgo rules over religious orders and is the sign of the nun, a vocation the girl chose while still a child. Virgo’s symbol is the Virgin and St. Rose’s name often has the additional term “The Virgin Saint” proceeding it.
When the information regarding Rose’s cause of death was released on June 11th, 2010. The planets were placed in the sky as follows:
Saturn – 27 Virgo
Mars – 1 Virgo
Jupiter 0 Aries
Uranus 0 Aries
When put into words:
Saturn, the planet that rules human remains, was in the sign of the Nun, Virgo.
Mars, the planet that rules sex, was in the sign of the Virgin, Virgo.
Jupiter and Uranus were at a cardinal point, or indication of notoriety or fame, in the sign of the physical body, Aries.
Jupiter is the planet associated with Sainthood.
Uranus is the planet associated with X-Ray Technology.
If you’re facing towards Rome while in St. Rose’s hometown of Viterbo, hang a hard right and go about 40 miles due east until you hit the coastal sea town of Porto Ercole. There you’ll find the place where the recently identified remains of the artist named Caravaggio were re-discovered in 2010.
Caravaggio’s role in the world of Art is so significant, it has been said of him “What begins in the work of Caravaggio is, quite simply, modern painting.” – Andre Berne-Joffroy. After his death in 1610, an entire generation of artists mirrored his style, creating the categorical term, “Caravaggisti” or “Caravagesques”.
It was the time which preceeded the artist’s death that was the great mystery……until the spring of 2010.
The artist born as Michelangelo Merisi had a deadly temper who many times was on the run either in fear of arrest or after escaping imprisonment. Caravaggio’s artistic talent was showcased by The Vatican to counter the threat of The Reformation and the ever growing converts of Protestantism. Caravaggio’s work is known for its lush and elaborate detail (See Slideshow) as well as the use of extreme shadowing counterbalanced by the subject being bathed or reflected in light, otherwise known as “chiaroscuro”. Caravaggio did not invent chiaroscuro but perfected and elevated the painting technique so that his artwork became profoundly memorable illustrations of Catholicism in their own right, such as “The Taking of Christ” in 1602 and “The Conversion of St. Paul” in 1601(Both in Slideshow).
At the time of his death in 1610, the artist was sailing from Sicily to the central coast of the Italian mainland. Nothing was known after the master painter’s boat landed on the shores of Porto Ercole. Word reached Rome that the artistic great had died, but this supposed fact could not be proved due to the mysterious disappearance of Caravaggio’s body.
On June 16th, 2010 Scientists in Ravenna, Italy were able to state with 85% accuracy that the bones found in the basement mass grave of San Sebastiano, a church in Porto Ercole are indeed those of the Baroque Master Painter.
Many human remains were discovered in the bowels of San Sebastiano Church, but only one set fully matched the list of requirements which proved the artist’s identity, such as his height (5’7” considered tall at the end of the 16th century) as well as genetic matching to the DNA taken from modern male members of the Merisi family (See Slideshow).
Regarding the artist’s cause of death, there were just as many rumors swirling around how Caravaggio died as well as the whereabouts of his remains. It’s no coincidence the Universe shed light on the cause of death of this importance artist as well as the identity of Caravaggio’s actual body all during the commemorative year which marked the 400th anniversary of his demise.
If Caravaggio’s body was actually interned within a church, why no records?
Historians speculate that in 1610 Spain controlled the eastern coastal portion of Italy and Spanish officials were more than familiar with the man deemed “the most famous painter in Rome”. Many believe Caravaggio’s death and corpse were unaccounted for so that Spain could lay claim and ownership of the Italian artist’s entire oeuvre.
With the remains identified as being those of the Master Painter, the burning question remaining is – What caused the death of Michelangelo Merisi?
The exact cause of Caravaggio’s death cannot be definitely confirmed but scientists believe three main factors contributed to the artist’s demise. The final factor was surprisingly confirmed with modern DNA testing and proved to be quite the astrological shocker as well.
The last known fact about Caravaggio’s final days was that he had embarked on a ship sailing from Sicily to the coastal town of Porto Ercole whereupon he intended to travel by land to return to Rome. The summer of 1610 was exceptionally hot and some of the most scorching days of that year occurred as Caravaggio’s boat came ashore on the Italian mainland. Scientists believe the “final touch” factor that did him in was heatstroke.
Along with being reputed for having a temper that was both volatile and violent, it was well known that Caravaggio had a penchant for chasing both skirts and shirts. He was also unabashed about hiring every flavor of male and female prostitute. (Many of the models used for his early paintings were male prostitutes (See Slideshow). The venereal disease Syphilis is the 2nd contributing factor to the artist’s death.
The final contributor to the death of Caravaggio is the same reason why Buddy Ebsen had to bow out of the role of The Tin Man and what put a goodly portion of the cast of “The Wizard of Oz” in the hospital – lead poisoning. Modern science revealed the artist’s remains showed an unusually high content of lead, a major ingredient in the composition of paints used for oil painting. High lead content has been found in the remains of other oil painting giants such as Francisco Goya and Vincent van Gough. Like the famous Dutch painter, lead exposure may have been the cause for many of Caravaggio’s physical and mental maladies, including his propensity to fly into blind rages.
Caravaggio also had a reputation for being extremely messy with his paints. Lead poisoning on its own isn’t fatal, however it proved to be the main cause of death for the Baroque painter when considering that fact along with his many open syphilitic wounds combined with suffering heatstroke during that exceptionally hot July of 1610.
Astrological Significance Regarding The Remains of Caravaggio
When the information regarding the identity of Caravaggio’s remains along with his cause of death were released on June 16th, 2010 the planets were placed in the sky as follows:
Saturn – 28 Virgo
Mars – 3 Virgo
Uranus – 0 Aries
Jupiter – 1 Aries
Caravaggio’s date of birth is September 29th, 1571. The artist was born under the sign of Libra, 5 degrees to be exact. Although Saturn was not placed in Caravaggio’s Sun sign at the time of the announcement of his remains, the planetary ruler of human bones and remains was conjunct the artist’s Sun by 7 degrees. Saturn’s placement on the 16th of June acts as a heavenly announcement to coincide with the confirmation that indeed, the remains found are those of the Renaissance painter.
When translated formulaicly:
Saturn (the planet ruling over human bones) was in Virgo (the sign of details, many of which were needed to determine that the remains found were not of some ordinary Giovanni from the same time period) and was conjunct, or in close proximity to, Caravaggio’s Sun of 5 degrees Libra on June 16th, 2010 when details confirming the artist’s remains were revealed to the world.
A conjunction is when 2 planets are within 8 degrees of each other and their energies are of equal proportions. Although modern science allowed only 85% worth of accuracy by stating the remains in question were Caravaggio’s, the Universe gave full affirmation by Saturn, the planet overseeing human bones being conjunct Caravaggio’s Sun, which represents the artist’s overall self.
On June 16, 2010, Uranus was placed at 0 degrees of Aries, or the cardinal point of Aries. With Aries being the first sign of the Zodiac, it is termed the sign of the self, or of the physical body. The combination of The Great Benefic (Jupiter) in very close proximity to the Planet which oversees Technology (Uranus) at the cardinal point of Aries shed expansive knowledge about the physical bodies of both the medieval nun and the Baroque painter. Uranus rules modern science, thus X ray technology played a major part with St. Rose’s remains as did DNA testing in determining that the remains found in the basement mass grave of San Sebastiano were those of Caravaggio.
The influence of the King of Planets in the sign of Aries is what makes both of these discoveries historically famous and astrologically significant. Jupiter deals with the stuff of saints. It is only fitting that Jupiter’s recent placement at an Aries cardinal point coincided with an event involving the expansion of knowledge regarding the body of a teenager whose life of religious devotion admitted her entrance into the College of Saints.
In astronomy, Jupiter is technically considered a star as well as a planet due to its own bright illumination. For centuries, the remains of the man whose epitaph read “In painting not equal to a painter, but to Nature itself” lay indistinguishably with a bunch of other skeletons in an underground mass grave of a small church. Jupiter’s placement in the sign of the physical body brought long overdue illumination confirming the remains of one of the most influential artists to emerge from the Renaissance which, in turn, should bestow a final resting place befitting a man considered by many to be the greatest oil painter of all time.
Although Jupiter was no longer at the first degree of Aries on the day the announcements were made regarding Caravaggio’s remains, the King of Planet’s sign placement is still highly significant. By virtue of being conjunct by one degree to the planet of Science and Technology which was still located at a cardinal point, Jupiter shed light on Caravaggio’s identity, which was confirmed by Uranian DNA testing.
With Jupiter having moved 1 degree from the “spotlight of fame” or cardinal point, the overall effect of Uranus’ cardinal point scientific findings were lessened with the degree of certainty dropping from 100 to 85%. However, the King of Planets’ sign placement affirmed that the remains found were those of the master painter by virtue of Jupiter’s influence of expansion. Anything metallic is associated with the sign of Aries. Jupiter’s placement in that sign shed light on the fact that lead was determined as the factor that determined Caravaggio’s identity along with the cause of his death given lead is metallic by nature.
In effect, the Adventures of Indiana Bones can also be seen as divine decrees from the astrological Universe which ask the modern world to take note of two people whose lives were neither ordinary nor in any way inconsequential.
Cosmic Factors to Ponder:
Your author begs his readers to ponder a few final factors regarding the discoveries made with the remains of St. Rose and Caravaggio that are cosmic in nature, almost eerily so.
– The number of days that passed between the announcements regarding St. Rose and Caravaggio are intriguing by number – 5. The number 5 is associated with Leo, the fifth sign of the Zodiac whose planetary ruler is the Sun and whose influential area of the body is the heart. The remains of both people are Leoesque with St. Rose’s heart being determined as her cause of death, and Caravaggio succumbing to heatstroke from the torrid Sun of the summer of 1610.
– When the news regarding Caravaggio’s remains was announced, I was stunned. The image I had already chosen representing Rose of Viterbo was a portrait created by Bartolomé Esteban Murillo, a devout Caravaggisti (See Slideshow).