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Artists need space. Churches have space.

Creating a symbiotic relationship in which historic sacred spaces, such as churches, help to alleviate performing artists’ need for space could benefit both groups and better integrate them into the community, according to a new study from Drexel University. However, an intermediary is needed to help facilitate these relationships, the study found.

The study was led by Neville Vakharia, an assistant professor and research director of arts administration in Drexel’s Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts & Design, and Partners for Sacred Places, a national organization dedicated to the stewardship and active community use of historic sacred spaces.

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Four hundred years after the end of his action-packed life, Caravaggio is at the center of a new row as two churches in Sicily battle over the ownership of one of his greatest paintings.

"The Burial of Saint Lucy," which the baroque anti-hero painted two years before his death in 1610, has been moved several times for restoration, but now finds itself the center of spat between churches in rival districts in the port of Syracuse.

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Artists can be eccentric, but the quirks of the Italian Renaissance master Piero di Cosimo are legendary. He is said to have been terrified of thunderstorms and so pyrophobic that he rarely cooked his food, subsisting mostly on hard-boiled eggs that he prepared 50 at a time while heating glue for his art. He didn’t clean his studio. He didn’t trim the trees in his orchard. Giorgio Vasari, the Renaissance biographer, described Piero as living “more like a beast than a man.”

He was a versatile artist, however. Painting mostly on panel in impeccable detail, he depicted religious subjects as well as mythological scenes. Many of his works remain in the churches for which they were painted in central Italy; others, made for prominent families in Renaissance Florence, are now in the permanent collections of American museums.

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