Now celebrated as one of history’s greatest artists, Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio fled Rome in 1606 to escape retribution for killing a man in a brawl. Surfacing in Naples, he was commissioned the masterpiece, The Seven Acts of Mercy. This narrative journey describes Caravaggio’s metamorphosis from fugitive to visionary while unravelling the meaning of the painting.  The author launches into a timeless journey guided by Angelo, the guardian of the painting, fusing elements of history, biography, memoir, travelogue, and journalism. The narrative charts the painter’s journey from estrangement to grace and reveals how the guardian finds redemption in his bruised life, transformed by the painting.

Subject Matters – Interview, Toronto

The Guardian of Mercy is just superb. And bold. I can’t think of a book quite like it.  Just brilliant

Pete Hamill, author
This is a story of grace! Terence Ward’s powerful, moving narrative interweaves Caravaggio’s life story with those of people in contemporary Naples whose lives are transformed by the power of art—and mercy. This remarkable book is arriving just at the right time.
Elaine Pagels, Harrington Professor of Religion, Princeton University, author

A great-hearted gift to our poor, violent, suffering old world. And, of course, Caravaggio’s vision of mercy, luminous among the shadows, is sorely needed by all of us.

Wendell Berry, The Unsettling of America

Terence Ward takes us on a remarkable journey of discovery and along the way illuminates unusual and profound aspects of this long neglected masterpiece.

Jerry Brown, Governor of California

A rich tapestry that intricately weaves the story of an iconic painter and his influence on the viewer.

San Francisco Book Review

Ecstatic and soul-searching. Written with grace, with almost every sentence imparting an epiphany. An electrifying reading experience and a wondrous book on Caravaggio . . . Ward challenges us to undertake soul-work, even if one is a secular reader. Here, reading is an act of empathy and potential readers will read the book with passion and compassion, thereby becoming, in the words of Wallace Stevens, ‘necessary angels’.

Pelligrino d'Acierno, Director of Italian Studies and Professor of Comparative Literature, Hofstra University

Presentation at NYU Casa Italiana – Feb 2016 Introduced by Stefano Albertini (NYU) and Pelligrino d’Acierno (Hofstra)

New York Review of Books
Article by Ingrid Rowland, May 11, 2017

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Caravaggio as Necessary Angel
by Pellegrino D’Acierno

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Festival of Faiths, Louisville, Kentucky  2016