To the huge dikes on the Baltic Sea

After a day of travel canceled by high winds, we departed Stadskanaal at 9 am in the company of another boat and the bridge keepers who would be opening the bridges and operating the locks. There were some 35 opening bridges ahead. By the time we’d moved 50 meters I knew there was something wrong with the steering. We got through the bridge there and pulled over. We had no rudder control at all.

After attempting to add hydraulic oil failed, we knew we would be staying here for days- the steering pump had failed. Fortunately there was electricity and water on the dock. Had we been in the middle of nowhere we would be a more vulnerable position. Although we have solar panels and 450 liters of water, we can last as much as 10 days without access to electricity and water.

To get close enough to the electrical outlet we had to move the boat. We pulled it by hand after maneuvering it to the nearby dock with the bow thruster and engine. Moving the boat in a straight line this way is easy enough to do, but we had to get around two boats, which is not so easy. Our 13 year old visitor climbed on the boats to fend us off. It was a bit nerve wracking as the ropes tended to hang up on the boats we passed, as we had to loop the lines over the low sailboats. It took about 20 minutes.

While awaiting a solution to our steering problem we took a trip on the old and mighty steam locomotive to Vaandam, about 20 kilometers along the canal. It’s cars are all from the same era and in great condition as well, judging by appearances. A single engineer operates the locomotive, with little need for assistance in stoking the fire. Their tracks are exclusive to the steam locomotive. There are no traffic barriers so they have two employees standing guard at the crossings. Other employees check tickets or serve in the restaurant car, where we sat eating an appelgebak (apple pie, the national dessert) and drinking coffee or lemonade made from a syrup.


Eventually we founds a new steering pump, then moved on through all 20 plus bridges and the three ancient hand operated locks, accompanied by bridge keepers operating in teams to facilitate the movement, arriving at last in Groningen. We had already been there by bus, visiting the famous Groninger Museum. There is a good albeit small collection of women artists from the city, dating from the mid 19th century and an extensive permanent ceramics collection. The building sits in water with a brightly colored exterior. In the evening we climbed the 10 story super modern Forum, with multiple floors dedicated to the public library but including a Disney exhibition and a cinema.

Inside the Forum tower. Escalators climb each floor, with wide views above and below.

The next day we made our way through the bridges of downtown Groningen, a charming way to see the old town. Soon we found ourselves in the countryside, with the occasional bridge and a few locks. Then we crossed the Lauwersmeer (meer is sea, like ‘mar’ in Spanish, coming from the Latin) to the mighty dike and flood gates at Lauwersoog, part of the Zuiderzee Works keeping the seas from flooding the entire country, as it did in the early 1950’s. The dike and its huge flood gates were completed in 1969.

flood gates

A mighty wind often batters the mighty barrier. We were treated to a strong wind as we walked along the dike. On our ferry ride to the nearby barrier island the transport vessel was unbothered neither by the wind nor the chop that would have made our boat bounce around quite a bit, though posing no danger.

The tide was out, perhaps exacerbated by the wind. At one point past mid-journey there was a sandbar exposed to view. Any captain new to this voyage would be especially sure to remain in the winding channel through the shallow sea.

Bier drinken in Nederland

The Dutch are a beer drinking society, much like the rest of Northern Europe. Heineken is the most famous of its native brews and its sister beer Amstel, named after the river from which Amsterdam (Dam on the Amstel) derives. Grolsch is another brand, its main offering a very good pilsner, notable for its hinged cap that remains with the bottle. These days all bottles and cans are returnable but these Grolsch bottles have long come with a deposit.

Other beers include La Trappe Trappist Brewery, Brouwerij’t IJ, Brouweri De Molen and Arcense Bierbrouwerij (a term meaning ‘beer brewery.’) And there’s a brand called Brand.

A bit of terminology will help you understand what you are about to drink. A Double is 6-7.5% dark beer. A Triple is a 6-8% strong pale ale. A single, a term that I have never seen in use, is a 4-5% every day beer like a Heineken and the less expensive house brand beers. A ‘witbier’ is what we call a white beer in English, made from wheat versus the usual barley. Indian Pale Ales have become popular in recent years. For a good review of the topic see

Texel, one of the Netherland’s craft beers

The Dutch drink a lot of Belgian beers, but little from elsewhere, even the ubiquitous Guinness, one of the most widely distributed beers in the EU. Affligem is a widely available Belgian brew coming in the form of a Double or a Triple. I have seen Duvel and Chifou and a variety of Trappist Beers. To use the term ‘Trappist’ they must be brewed at a Trappist monastery and there must be at least one monk around. There are 13 Trappist brewers, however the International Trappist Association only recognizes 10. In one case the recognition was withdrawn after the last Trappist monk died. That’s picky. The beer is what counts, no?

Since 2010 the craft beer scene has developed extensively as drinkers look for more character in their beverage and seek to support local products. From what I see online there are about 500 of them. Catching up to the Belgians, are we? We like Texel, brewed on the barrier island of that name. It seems to be the most widely available of the craft beers. See Texel’s website

Eten en drinken in Nederland: Dutch cooking

Dutch cuisine is more home cooking than, say, the haute cuisine of the French. Nonetheless it is highly enjoyable, and that’s the point, isn’t it? Here’s a brief overview.


The Dutch eat a ton of dairy products. Gouda and Edam are its most well known cheeses, named after the towns from whence they originated. However the list of cheeses is long, most falling within the same family as these famous names. Most are dipped in a wax or plastic coating. There are various ages at which they are released for sale, the terms being “jong,” (young) “belegen” (aged up to 48 weeks and oude (old) (48 months or more, a hard cheese). More on cheeses here, and here and here

Cheeses are generally consumed on their own and used to make cheese sauces. While the French pair it with wine, the Dutch are much less likely to do so, being more into beer drinking than wine. They often serve it with mustard, which seems to make it go better with beer than one might assume. It is served cubed with a ‘borrel,’ a late afternoon bar snack.

Fish forms a significant part of the diet, mostly served deep fried other than salmon and tuna, which are served as filets with a sauce in the case of the former and canned with salads and sandwiches. There are fish trucks in almost every main plaza with deep fried offerings, especially ‘lekkerbek‘ (cod) in filets or in bits called kibling. Some also offer fries and drinks. Haring (herring) is always available from these trucks. It is served filleted after having been cured. You can have it with chopped onions and pickles.

With this background, what will you find in restaurants?

Restaurant selections


Sandwiches. The restaurants are very creative with these offerings. There is a salmon brood on just about every menu and you feel you are in the lap of luxury with hearty brown or white bread together with sauces and veggies.

Zalm (salmon) broodjes – this one also has tuna

Loaded fries (they use the English words in the menus)

Fries Nary a meal goes by without them. Often they are served in attractive baskets either to the individual or the table. They are consistently the equal of the best fries anywhere, crispy and hot. They serve them with mayonnaise, mustard, or sate sauce (peanut sauce), and a few others. There are fries shops in many towns. Just fries and sauces sold there.

Kip sate is one of my favorite main courses. The Dutch controlled Indonesia through the Dutch East India Company. As a result Indonesian items are on Dutch menus. Kip is Dutch for chicken. A sate is a peanut sauce. Chunks of chicken are skewered then grilled before being served with a peanut sauce. The sauce is fairly sweet and sometimes a bit spicy. It is served with fries and vegetables. A rice tafel (rice table) is a large selection of Indonesian specialties served on a lazy Susan. Look for an Indonesian restaurant rather than an Indo-Chinese restaurant as the former provide a more genuine experience.

Pork is a favorite, grilled and then served with a sauce, some veggies and fries. Chicken as well, but more as a sate served with fries and some veg. Beef is less common and quite expensive in restaurants. Steaks of various cuts are offered in restaurants, although the Dutch eat more pork than beef. They like it with pepper sauce or perhaps a Hollandaise.

White asparagus is wildly popular. It is in season in late spring to early summer. While still in the ground it is covered to keep it from turning the normal green. I have had it with a cheese sauce, but is also severed with slices of ham with a hard boiled egg. Belgian endive, called ‘witlof,’ is also very popular, topped with a cream sauce. We had it first at a friend’s house. It is steamed, cut in half and allowed to drain before wrapping it in a slice of ham, topped with a cream sauce and bread crumbs, then put in the oven for a bit.

Mussels are usually served fried. At home they are more likely to steam them. These days most people do not deep fry at home. A friend does some really fine ones with onions, garlic, carot, celery and creme fraiche.

‘Poffertjes‘ are small, cylindrical snacks made with pancake batter poured into a mold and served with powdered sugar. Pannenkoeken are pancakes but as lunch or dinner offerings with various savory toppings and served as a dessert as well . They are not a breakfast item! They also have waffles, served as sweet snacks, small and thin with powdered sugar. At a fund raiser for a windmill’s petting farm I told the volunteer that I had them for breakfast with sausage or bacon and she nearly fell over with a mixure of surprise and I tkink I detected a bit of disgust at the mere thought of it. Stroop (syrup) waffles are cookies made with sugar or corn syrup. Waffles in the Belgian style are unknown.

Uitsmijters are fried egg dishes with two or three eggs, ham and cheese on toast, sometimes served with potatoes on the side. They are served for breakfast and lunch. The Dutch love soup. Mustard soup is a specialty of the town of Doesburg, home of a mustard factory. It is a cream based soup and is quite tasty. Burgers have become popular, an American import that is in vogue is much of Europe.

Borrel plank

Borrel are pre dinner drinks often served with snacks around 4-5 pm with dinner coming at 6 – 8 pm. Croquettes are common borrels, with a crunchy exterior covering a creamy filling. Frikandel are a kind of sausage. Bitterballen are deep fried meatballs. Kaassoufflé is a deep fried cheese delight served with a sate sauce. Loempias are fried rolls, like Chinese egg rolls, coming from the Indonesian tradition. Blocks of cheese are served with mustard, as mentioned above. I have never seen red peppers stuffed with sweetened cheese in a restaurant but they are common in grocery stores. At friends’ houses we’ve had rolls of salmon with something like cream cheese, and jamon serrano called rauwe ham also stuffed with the same or similar kinds of cheese. Hard sausages are sliced and offered up. There are lots of others, but these are the ones I have run across the most.

Special thanks to Marcella and Yoost for corrections and suggestions.

Next: beer, the national beverage.

Sunshine on the lakes

Just north of Zwolle there are several small lakes. We spent several days there before painting the hull in Hasselt just up the river and again after a cruise up the Ijsselvecht River. Moored on the lake just a few meters from the river we were treated to a stream of water craft of all types, from canoes to river cruise ships. Families came by water and land to swim, picnic and sun bathe.
Lake near Zwolle, NL

Other boaters occupied similar moorings, picnicking, swimming and playing traditional Dutch music, polkas that sound a lot like German polkas.

zwolle summer scene 2

Rechteren Castle in Dalsen

The privately owned and occupied Rechteren Castle was built circa 1190 as a fortification. In 1315, it became the property of the van Voorst family. The counts of Rechteren inherited the castle, and it is still in the family.

In 1591 they removed the moat and outer wall to keep it out of the hands of the Spanish. In the 18th century, two wings were added to the main building. No visits are allowed. Photos reveal family portraits and scenes from Greek mythologuy, a rococo salon. There is an arms collection.

Rechteren Castle, Dalfsen NL

    There are a number of farms in the vicinity of Rechteren Castle shutters in the colors red and yellow. These are
    still tenant farms. A plaque on the property says there is an underground passage leading to the church in Dalsen, although that would require several kilometers of tunnels.


    Rhenen, like Wijk bij Duurstede, is located on a branch of the Rhine called the Nederrhine (Lower Rhine). The town’s mooring is on the river just about a leisurely ten minute walk from the center. From the river you can not miss the large church tower.

    rhe3nen kerk
    Cuneraerk, Rhenen Netherlands, as seen from our mooring

    Cunerakerk is a Late Gothic, stone-roofed hall church with a transept and single choir. The first church on this site, circa 11th century, was dedicated to Peter. The current church is dedicated to Cunera who, according to legend, survived a massacre of virgins by the Huns, then brought by King Radboud to his seat in Rhenen. She was beloved by the locals and then murdered by the jealous Queen. The church served as a center of pilgrimages for centuries, with Cunera’s relics as a major draw.

    With the proceeds from the pilgrimages they built the current structure with its large tower from 1492 to 1531. Fires in 1897 and 1934 and then the bombardment 1945 severely damaged the church and tower, since restored.

    Between 1630 and 1631 the Koningshuis palace was constructed at Rhenen for Frederick V. It was demolished in 1812. Part of the center of town was damaged by the Nazis in the 1940 invasion.

    There’s a neat old windmill in town

    Wijk Bij Duursten

    In a country loaded with charming towns, Wijk Bij Duursten’s fairyland castleputs it in the top ten. It also has an old windmill. ‘Wijk bij Duurstede’ means ‘Neighbourhood by Duurstede’. The castle is named Duurstede, where the bishop of Utrecht once lived. Dating from circa 1300, the town sits on the Nederrine, a branch of the Rhine.

    The brdige across the moat

    The interior has been set up for dining. There are 4 dining rooms, reached by the original winding staircase or the modern fire escape, without which you’d be trapped by the narrow and steep stairs. A great setting for a wedding!

    The weather continues to be chilly, but with a fair amount of sun. We hear cuckoos most days. The namesake clocks mimic the sound exactly. Their call adds charm to an already beguiling scene, if you ignore their cheating ways. They deposit their eggs in the nests of other birds, who become unwitting foster parents. Nature has many strange ways, doesn’t it.

    Sleepboot (tug boat) Festival 2023

    On our last night on the Linge we were helped by a British man living aboard a well-worn boat, traveling with a friend who was towning him as needed. He told us about an event coming up in Vianen, a few hours up the canal and in the direction we were heading. As it turned out it was quite the festival. There were some 150 of these boats, called ‘sleepboot’ in Dutch, who came to Vianen to show off their boats. Almost all the boats have been beautifully restored. They date from the early 1900’s. The ones that old were originally equipped with steam engines. All have been converted to diesel. One we visited had a min-1940’s GM diesel. The owner said there were a lot of GM engines available at that time. (Note: ‘boot’ in Dutch is pronounced as ‘boat’ in English)

    These boats are equipped with large engines designed for towing much larger vessels. The earliest ones towed deep water cargo sailing ships. At the beginning they were not equipped with engines so had to be manuevered to dock. These tug boats made that chore much easier in comparison to rowing.

    sleepboat 1

    Here’s a short video I compiled so you can see the boats in motion, and hear their old engines running. One of them idles at a mere 19 RPM!

    The weather was near perfect. The locals and the visitors joined parties and danced to some mighty loud music. Alcohol flowed. I did not smell any marijuana, which is legal if you are a Dutch resident. So many people were coming to the country in large measure for the pot that the legislature was motivated to restrict its availability.

    The Low Lands and the bossche bollen

    It’s called by many names. In Spanish it’s Paises Bajos, the Low Countries. It is most commonly referred to by a name that is part of the name of just two of its provinces. In English we refer to their language using an unrelated term.

    Welcome to Holland (a word that originates with the provinces of North Holland and South Holland). In the country they spell it “Nederlands,” with a ‘d,’ a word unrelated to the country’s name. In English it’s “the Netherlands,” with a ‘t,’

    We are here again.

    The Dutch don’t complain about calling their country Holland nor their language Dutch instead of ‘Nederlands’ or ‘Hollandish.’ It’s more about the weather than any other topic. It’s May and they have good cause yet again. It’s been cold. In late April it was just below freezing on several mornings. It’s been rainy, and when not raining, it’s been very cloudy, with just a few nice days sprinkled in.

    The dock at 'T leuken, watercolor
    Dock at ‘t Leuken, watercolor

    We made our way northwesterly on the Maas from this year’s winter harbor in t’Leuken. On our first night we moored just outside Lock Lith, arranged by Chris, whom we met last year in France. He arranged our overnight with the lock keeper, as overnights are not normally allowed. Chris was working just a ten minute walk downstream. We went there, staying with him as he piloted the ferry back and forth across the Maas. This privately run ferry is on a hydraulic cable powered by a small diesel engine. The operator has to raise and lower the ramp in addition to starting and stopping the cable. For Chris it’s a part time job as he’s retired, but likes doing. He takes the summers off to spend it on the boat with his wife, although this year they will be camping.

    The next day we landed in s’ Hertogenbosch at Lock 0. We’re very close to the center of town. The center is lively, with lots of restaurants and bars, as well as fish trucks and cheese stands in the central square. We had a lekkerbek, a breaded and deep fried cod, and some great fries. At a restaurant we ordered the mighty bossche bollen, a cream filled chocolate covered pastry that is knockdown heavenly. One is enough for two unless you have just it for dinner, which I was tempted to do. These are made by just one company, delivered to eateries around town. I have never seen one elsewhere and I’ve been all over this country. You can find recipes on the internet.

    A bossche bollen, chocolate covered thin pastry filled with whipped cream

    s’ Hertogenbosch is also known for being the birthplace and lifetime residence of Hieronymus Bosch (circa 1450 – August 9, 1516), whose family produced the kinds of paintings for which he is famous. His often bizarre religious themed paintings are well known, held in collections around the world. For him heaven is a place of free love, where nudity and sex is everywhere to be seen and enjoyed. He is also known for his disturbing representations of life in hell,

    Hieronymus Bosch, a heavenly scene

    The museum is in a converted church, a common arrangement in the country as church attendance often does not justify the expense of building maintenance. There are no original paintings, just excellent reproductions. Each is described in a lovely booklet with well written and translated commentary, Dutch and English, which includes the painting’s current location. There are also some 30 of his drawings, showing his portrait, figure and fantasy drawing skills absent any distracting context.

    In the Conjurer, below, we have a secular scene. A conman distracts with the cups while a co-conspirator picks the pocket of a unsuspecting woman. As in the first painting, this one clearly demonstrates his figure drawing and painting skills. His paintings show us his intellect and imagination, albeit at times bizarre, all complex, with multiple figures robed and otherwise.

    Hieronymus Bosch, Conjurer

    The town also is home to an impressive church, now a Catholic cathedral, having passed back and forth with the Protestants in centuries past. This Gothic structure was started circa 1240, and finished about a century later. The third restoration began in 1998, in 2010 completed at a cost of more than 48 million euros. I can not imagine the Roman Catholic Church affording this amount so I did a bit of research on the matter. Indeed there was some funding from the government of the Netherlands.

    ceiling of St John Cathedral in s’ Herzenobosch
    The painted ceiling St John Cathedral in s’ Herzenobosch

    Walking about town is a pleasure, with its large central plaza, narrow side streets, bike lanes and many small shops as well as the usual chains. I can never figure out how these small shops, especially clothes shops, manage to stay in business. They do come and go to some extent, I believe, but here they still are, displaying more upscale choices, and in something new there is now the occasional vintage clothing shop.

    There’s a marijuana shop near our mooring. It’s called the Grass Company. I figure its pot as there is no need to help the Dutch grow lawns. We have read that purchasers must be Dutch residents. Amsterdam in particular is getting so many visitors just coming for the pot, staying on to party to excess, disturbing the peace and presumably crowding the jails. We saw none of that in this small town. People go to the bars and drink at home, and if they toke a joint it does not lead to raucous street parties. What they do in private it’s hard to tell, given the absence of noise coming from their houses. I often wonder if everyone in a town has died as I walk around at night in the residential areas.




    Who Killed Caravaggio?

    Leonardo is called da Vinci because he was born in a small town near Florence of that name. Michele Angelo da Caravaggio (1571-1610) is called Caravaggio because he was born in a small town of that name, located just outside Milan. He became a major figure in art and, as art was so fundamental to the times, he is a major figure in history. His dramatic use of light and his controversial presentations influenced all or nearly every artist since, from Atremesia to Rembrandt and well beyond. His aggressive behavior lead to an early death at the age of 39. We lost the opportunity to see what other innovations he might have developed.

    He painted his principal subjects in shafts of light, contrasting the heavy use of shadow and darkness. He painted directly onto the canvas without the usual multiple drawings. He used live models, often the same ones. Some of his versions of religious figures were controversial, showing them as more earthly than the mores of the time allowed, such as his Madonna dei Palafrenieri (Madonna of the Groom). It was rejected by the Church, and ended up in the hands of Cardinal Scipione Borghese. Notice that Jesus is uncircumcised, suggesting Jesus was not really Jewish, but of course he was.

    Palafrenieri (Madonna of the Groom), Caravaggio
    Madonna dei Palafrenieri (Madonna of the Groom), Caravaggio, 1606

    We took a stroll with Guru Walks, our second walking tour in Rome with this group, which is tip based versus a fixed fee. It was billed as “Who Killed Caravaggio.” The guide took us past scenes of his violent acts and into churches where you can see some of his 100+ paintings.

    The church of San Luigi dei Francesi in Rome has three famous Caravaggio’s, all about Saint Mathew. These paintings were Caravaggio’s first major commissions, which to our lasting benefit set him on the path to the work we see today.

    In the Calling of St Mathew (1600), Jesus inspires Mathew to become a follower. The painting dramatically, brilliantly both figuratively and literally depicts the story from the Gospel According to Mathew: “Jesus saw a man named Matthew at his seat in the custom house, and said to him, “Follow me”, and Matthew rose and followed Him.” Matthew 9:9) The hat wearing (it’s not a yarmulke) Jesus is largely obscured by another figure. Jesus sports a trimmed beard, hugely unlikely to be what any Jewish man of that time displayed, and probably the only such portrayal in the history of art. The outfits are hardly Middle Eastern, except perhaps the one but even it has the man wearing a black shirt beneath the robe.

    The Calling of Saint Matthew
    The Calling of Saint Matthew. This painting greatly reminds of Rembrandt.

    In The Inspiration of St Mathew, Mathew is listening to an angel as he writes his version of the story of Jesus. Mathew is awkwardly posed, as if he was about to sit down, ready to write, when his visitor appears, catching his attention, pen in hand and book (and not scroll) at the ready. The background is in darkness, the table lightly illuminated, focusing your attention on the figures. Plenty of robes in this painting.

    People at that time believed, as many still do, that the Gospels were written by four apostles. It was not until the mid-1800’s that Christian scholars determined that the books were written in Greek by educated people, whereas both Jesus and the apostles spoke Aramaic and were unable to read or write, according to Paul. You’d think that if Jesus could write he would have, that he did not write himself and did not find someone to write for him a la Mohammed suggests further his inability to read and write. Christian scholarship also shows that the earliest of the gospels, Luke, was not written until after 50 CE. The Gospels themselves do not claim authorship at all. The titles were added around 200 CE, and only Luke claims the use of eye witnesses, but gives no details. See for example World History. org

    The Inspiration of Saint Matthew by Caravaggio
    The Inspiration of Saint Matthew by Caravaggio

    Madonna (literally “My Lady”) of Loreto depicts a barefoot Mary holding a large baby Jesus before two peasants. Not kings, but peasants! Barefoot! Peasants! Mary is almost always depicted wearing a crown and some pretty fancy duds befitting of the mother of Jesus. The room is bare, which is also unusual. The model he used was a known prostitute, well known locally and commented upon at the time. Caravaggio certainly was not constrained by tradition, at least not entirely.

    Madonna of Loreto
    Madonna of Loreto, 1606

    The Basilica di Santa Maria del Popolo (St Mary of the People) at the Piazza del Popolo was also on our itinerary. According to the ancient tradition, after his death sentence was announced, Peter requested that he be crucified upside down, saying that no man is worthy to be killed in the same way as Jesus. This is a strange thing to say, it seems to me, as many were executed exactly as Jesus was, including the two hanging right next to Jesus. Crucifixion was a common method the Romans used, allowing the body to rot as a way of further intimidating the locals.

    Here we have Caravaggio’s brilliant rendition of the horrendous scene about to unravel. Peter looks more like the poor fisherman he and most of the disciples were, continuing Caravaggio’s predilection for portraying the famous actors as ordinary, common people. The shadowing across his body is nothing short of brilliant. One figure seems to be wearing robes, the other shirt and trousers as they try to lift the heavy cross and body. Peter is dressed as Jesus normally is on the cross. He is trying to keep his head upright, delaying the rushing of blood to his head.

    Crucifixion of St Peter 1601 and the Conversion of St Paul on the Way to Damascus

    The Conversion of St Paul is a more genteel scene, although falling from a horse is no laughing matter and can be fatal. Caravaggio shows he can paint horses, this one with his hoof in the air, suggesting it is still in motion, obscuring the thorax of Paul’s groom. His clothing reminds of a Roman soldier, his sword and helmet lying on the ground. The figures are surrounded by darkness, presumably due to the storm whence came the bolt of lightning, leaving him isolated and vulnerable. No wonder he heard voices.

    Saul is the Hebrew version of Paul. Paul did not change his name.

    We finished on the steps of this church (aside from Caravaggio the small church also contains works by Raphael and Bernini among others) with the mystery of who killed Caravaggio.

    Caravaggio was often fleeing from one part of Italy to another, near the end to Malta, then Sicily and then Naples. Reports show bizarre behavior in addition to much violence. While in Naples he was attempting to negotiate a pardon with the Cardinal Scipione Borghese, offering a painting in exchange.

    He died on the way to Rome, but the cause is unknown. There were rumors that the powerful Tommasoni family of Rome, whose son he killed causing him to flee Rome, or the Knights of Malta had him killed, and also that he died of syphilis. Painters until modern times used white paint with lead in it, and other paints containing toxic substances, which might have contributed to the strange and violent behavior in contemporary reports, and could also cause death. There are reports of wounds from a sword fight in Naples leading to sepsis.

    So the mystery remains with us, along with his fabulous works.