Two Italian art historians say they have discovered some 100 previously unknown works by the Renaissance master Caravaggio. Their claim has met with some scepticism from other art experts in Italy. The works, which
include drawings and some paintings, were allegedly mostly found among a collection of pieces by pupils of painter Simone Peterzano, a teacher of Caravaggio.
The ANSA news agency said the works could be worth around 700 million euros ($867 million), according to the two experts who have researched them.
The two art historians, Maurizio Bernardelli Curuz and Adriana Conconi Fedrigolli, are publishing two e-books on Amazon in Italian laying out their case for the works' authenticity.
Bernardelli told The Associated Press that up to now, it had been assumed that the collection, held in Milan's Sforzesco castle, consisted only of works by Peterzano.
He told the daily La Repubblica, however, that "it was impossible that Caravaggio had left no trace of his activity between 1584 and 1588 at the workshop of a painter who was famous and sought after at the time."
But other art historians have cautioned that the research had yet to be verified.
"We must be very prudent, " said Cristina Terzaghi, the author of a book on Caravaggio.
"These sketches were well known, I had myself seen them. Their research must be carefully studied and verified by the scientific community."
Another expert for 16th-century art, Claudio Strinati, deemed the claims to be "absurd."
Caravaggio (1571-1610), whose real name was Michelangelo Merisi, has been hailed as the master of the "chiaro-oscuro" technique, the contrast of light and shade.
His often dramatic painting style reflected his own tormented life - he often ended up in jail for violent behavior and even killed a love rival in a fight in Rome.
He died on a beach south of Rome under mysterious circumstances after the pope had purportedly rescinded his death warrant for the murder.