MILAN, July 5 (Xinhua) -- Italian art experts have discovered around 100 early drawings attributed to Renaissance master Michelango Merisi, known as Caravaggio, in Italy's Milan, ANSA news agency reported on Thursday.
The works, discovered at Sforza Castle in the northern Italian city, were believed to date from Caravaggio's earliest years as a painter, when he was a young apprentice under mannerist painter Simone Peterzano.
They could be worth around 700 million euros (867 million U.S. dollars), according to researchers who examined the paintings.
"We always felt it was impossible that Caravaggio had left no trace, no studies in the workshop of a painter as famous as his mentor," historian Maurizio Bernardelli Curuz Guerrieri was quoted by ANSA as saying.
Bernardelli along with co-researcher Adriana Conconi Fedrigolli were given access to 1,378 pieces of the collection done by Peterzano and his students.
For two years, the two experts reportedly studied Caravaggio's works in churches and museums to identify underlying patterns from the painter.
Born in Milan in 1571, Caravaggio, who was hailed as the master of "chiaroscuro" - a technique that uses light and dark to achieve a 3D effect - led a tumultuous life. He had many run-ins with the law, and was arrested on several occasions.
He died at the age of 38 in unclear circumstances while taking flight from Rome after being sentenced to death for killing a rival.
Infamous while he lived, he was forgotten almost immediately after his death. It was only in the 20th century that Caravaggio's importance to the development of Western art was rediscovered.
According to ANSA, the newly-unearthed findings will be revealed on Friday with the worldwide release of a two-part e-book published in four languages.