Caravaggio didn't like cooked artichokes
February 18 2011
A new exhibition in Rome has uncovered some fascinating archival evidence about Caravaggio. We now know for sure where and when he was born (Milan, not Caravaggio) and died (in a hospital bed).
One document reports a fight over a plate of artichokes;
Statement to police by Pietro Antonio de Fosaccia, waiter, 26 April 1604:
About 17 o'clock [lunchtime] the accused, together with two other people, was eating in the Moor's restaurant at La Maddalena, where I work as a waiter. I brought them eight cooked artichokes, four cooked in butter and four fried in oil. The accused asked me which were cooked in butter and which fried in oil, and I told him to smell them, which would easily enable him to tell the difference.
He got angry and without saying anything more, grabbed an earthenware dish and hit me on the cheek at the level of my moustache, injuring me slightly... and then he got up and grabbed his friend's sword which was lying on the table, intending perhaps to strike me with it, but I got up and came here to the police station to make a formal complaint...