fillide

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Fillide Melandroni was a famous courtesan from the final decade of the XVI century. She was so beautiful that even the great master Caravaggio took a liking to her, and as a result we can observe her face in four of his paintings. Apparently his affection for this girl resulted in bloody outcome. Caravaggio allegedly killed and castrated her pimp, Ranuccio Tomassoni after the game of tennis, and fled Italy afterwards. 

Here we can see her face depicted in Caravaggio’s works:

1. Judith Beheading Holofernes (whole piece)

2. Saint Catherine of Alexandria (whole piece)

3. Portrait of a Courtesan (whole piece)

4. Martha and Mary Magdalene (whole piece)

External image

This article cites Peter Robb’s controversial biography “M,” and Andrew Graham-Dixon’s recent but problematic biography of Caravaggio in reference to two of the most popular and somewhat mysterious areas of Caravaggio’s life: his death and how/why he killed Ranuccio. Problem: It does not cite art historian Helen Langdon, who unbiasedly wrote about this very topic in her biography of Caravaggio. Nor does it cite Philip Sohm, who wrote about the differing stories of Caravaggio’s death, or any primary sources related to Caravaggio’s death and his relationship with Fillide. Wikipedia disappoints. False & misinformation abounds… I hope I do my small part to troll the web and point it out.