The Cardsharps is among the best preserved works by Caravaggio. Even the delicate red lake glazes over the vermilion red hearts on the cards are intact. The removal of a later addition, a six-inch-high (14 cm) horizontal canvas strip, from the top edge restored the composition to its original dimensions. The removal of the lining in the 1987 restoration uncovered a stamped seal on the reverse. This stamp, identifying works from Cardinal del Monte?s collection, had been previously discovered on Caravaggio?s Gypsy Fortune Teller at the Capitoline Museum in Rome.
Bodies and Shadows: Caravaggio and His Legacy introduces the work of Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio (1571–1610), one of the most popular artists of the past, rivaling in fame both Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci. The stories of Caravaggio's life are legend, more myth than history, describing traits of personality, including passion and brutality, that came to describe the unique qualities of his work. The exhibition, made up of 56 works in all, including a record eight works by Caravaggio himself, covers the evolution of his style. Caravaggio's legacy is expressed in work by about twenty artists from Italy, Spain, France and the Netherlands who carried into the late 17th century the strangeness, beauty and raw emotion of his work.