Spain: Painting to be sold for 1,500 euros attributed to Caravaggio

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Her government Spain blocked the sale today, at auction, of a painting that may be the work of Caravaggio, an oil painting that until now was attributed to a student of Jose de Rivera’s school and had a starting price of just 1,500 euros.

The Ministry of Culture described as “non-exportable” the painting that would be sold at auction in Madrid, “because it may be attributed to Caravaggio”, the famous Italian Renaissance painter, Jose Manuel Rodriguez Uribes said on Twitter, posting an article in for this case.

The painting was withdrawn from the auction, as confirmed by the auction house Ansorena, which had undertaken its sale. «Various experts are currently studying the project“, He added, confirming that the Ministry of Culture has decided that the work can not be exported from Spain.

According to Maria Cristina Terzaggi, a professor of art history at the University of Roma Tre, the painting is definitely the work of Caravaggio. “It’s his,” he told the Italian newspaper La Repubblica. «The purple cloak of Christ is of the same quality as the red of Salome (in the painting “Salome with the head of John the Baptist”) located in Prado, Madrid“, explained.

The work is strongly reminiscent of those painted by Caravaggio during the first months of his stay in Naples, according to Terzaggi. Thus, Pontius Pilate, in the foreground in the painting, refers to St. Peter, as he portrayed him in “The Virgin of the Rosary”, a work that is now housed in the Kunsthistorises Museum in Vienna.

It is not the first time that unknown or “lost” paintings by great painters have suddenly reappeared, been found forgotten in a loft or sold for crumbs at auctions, causing a sensation in the art world.

Another Caravaggio, the painting “Judith Beheads Holofernes”, was forgotten in the attic of a house near Toulouse, in southern France. The owners discovered it in April 2014, when they tried to repair a water leak in their home. Beneath the thick layer of dust, an appraiser was able to distinguish vivid colors, an expressive image, and a play on light and shadow that seemed familiar to him. Caravaggio. Some other experts disputed it, but most consider it to be authentic Caravaggio and its value was estimated at 120 million euros.

The “Christ mocked” by Chimabue, the great pre-Renaissance Italian painter, adorned for years the home of an elderly lady in the Campienne, north of Paris, hanging in the hallway between her kitchen and living room. The owners thought it was a simple religious image and were unaware of its value. During a relocation it was evaluated and it was revealed that it was a rare work by Chimabue, part of a diptych of 1280. It was sold at the end of 2019 for 24 million euros and thus became the most expensive pre-Renaissance painter painting in the world.

Gauguin in Turin

A woman and two wicker chairs in a garden, a still life with a yellow dog in a corner: these were the two paintings that no one wanted to buy when the “lost and unclaimed” were auctioned at the Turin train station.

The auctioneer was forced to drop the price. Nicolo, a Fiat automaker and art lover, eventually bought them for just .000 45,000 (about 238 euros) and hung them in his living room. It was the spring of 1975.

For years, Nicholas’ son stared at them in hypnosis, until one day he decided to solve the mystery of “anonymous” works. Coincidentally, reading the biography of Pierre Bonar, he recognized “his” garden with the woman, in a photograph of the painter. For still life, the carabinieri solved the riddle in 2014: it was the work of Paul Gauguin.

Both paintings were stolen from London in 1970 by wealthy heirs who later died without leaving any descendants. Bonar was valued at 5 million euros, Gauguin at 35. Italian justice eventually returned them both to the worker’s family, judging that he had bought them “in good faith”.

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