Caravaggio is a good example of this. In the 19th century his fame was not as great as it is today; instead it were other artists of his era that occupied the interest of scholars and public. Today; on the other hand; Caravaggio is recognized as an important artist and there are numerous publications; exhibitions and films about his art and life. One important feature in these publications is that he is seen as modern. This leads to what might be called an institutionalized forgetfulness on the same time as it gives the present time a possibility to reanalyze the past. In the presented paper I will argue that scholars have to be aware of these circumstances and that historiography must be a part of the studies of art of past times.