Caravaggios The Madonna of the Pilgrims, one of the artists most famous paintings has been damaged while on loan to an exhibition in Milan Caravaggio and Europe.

When the painting was returned to its home, the church of S.Agostino, near the Piazza Navona in Rome, it was found to have a five centimetre hole in the foot of one of the kneeling pilgrims, at the lower right hand side of the painting, which had been covered by a white tape. The priests at S.Agostino are certain that the painting was intact when it left Rome in November and that it could not have been damaged while it was packed for transport.

More than 300,000 people visited the Milan exhibition. Representatives of the ministry of fine art and cultural have assured the church authorities that the painting will be repaired as soon as possible.