Caravaggio's 12-Bead Rosary?
In reading a passage of art criticism yesterday, I encountered Caravaggio's Madonna of the Rosary and noticed something. There are twelve figures set in a rough circle whose center is a hollow space fixed in the middle of the painting. The notion occurred to me that the painting itself was a rosary for Caravaggio, each of the twelve figures representing a bead. I Googled "12-bead rosary" and learned that such a rosary does exist, but it does not appear to be common. Caravaggio, however, might have had his reasons for using twelve, the number being a significant one in Christian symbolism -- twelve tribes, twelve disciples. Not to forget the obvious twelve months, or the twelve numerals of the clock. There are also twelve fruits of the Holy Spirit, according to Catholic teaching, though I don't know the origin of this tradition.
Unfortunately, I know too little to carry this notion any further, so I'm open to the suggestions of readers on this mystery . . .