They call it a “sleeper”: with a starting price of only $ 1,800, a potentially undeclared old master painting was pulled from auction and is now thought to be worth millions.
Sale of art and antiques at Madrid auction house Ansorna Listed as a “circle” of 17th-century Spanish painter Jose de Ribara on Thursday, it was determined to contain a disgusting oil on Christ’s canvas with thorns. The suggested initial bid was priced at 1,500 euros, or about $ 1,800. Museo del Prado In Madrid, it became known that the painting may be a long-lost work by Michelangelo Mercy da Caravaggio, the most famous of all Baroque artists, alerted the Spanish Ministry of Culture. And on Wednesday, the ministry announced an export ban on the painting, and the following day it was withdrawn from the auction.
“About the author, different experts are studying the work right now,” said Belon Puente Herrero, communications director for Ansorena, who declined to divulge more information about the painting and its ownership.
Two weeks ago, the painting was viewed online by London-based old master dealers Marco Vayana And Fabrizio Moretti, Who flew to Madrid to see the work in person. They believe it to be a well-documented but long-lost caravaggio.
“When I saw it, it went ‘boom’,” Voyna said in a phone interview from Madrid. “This is completely Caravaggio. This is awesome. It has a lot of power. “He said the painting was owned by a” normal family “and offered to negotiate a private sale to a Spanish museum for a” small commission “, but the auction house was yet to respond.
In 2017, Vevena and Moretti bought a newly discovered self-portrait by Caravaggio’s famous contemporary Artemisia Gentilichi 2.4 million euros with fees, or for $ 2.8 million at the Paris auction. The dealers later sold it to the National Gallery in London.
If the painting proves to be a fully accepted Caravaggio, then Museo del Prado In Madrid, whose collection consists of just one work by the artist, would be a logical new home.
“At this time, no one in El Prado has seen the painting in person,” said Carlos Chaugadesa, director of communications at the museum. “Nevertheless we believe that it deserves a deeper study as soon as possible.”
Pontius Pilate, the subject of St. John’s Gospel, presents the crowd to the angry and ridiculed Christ. According to contemporary biography, Caravaggio participated in a secret competition with two other painters, known as “Echo Homo”, to create a canvas of the scene. Caravaggio’s entry was reputedly taken to Spain. A painting of the subject is displayed as Caravaggio Galleria Palazzo Rosso In Genoa, the allegation was disputed by some scholars.
Maria Cristina TarzagiAn Associate Professor of History of Art at the University of Rome’s Roma Trey, is among those scholars who believe that the painting withdrawn from the sale of Madrid is Caravaggio’s original “Eco Homo”.
“There is no doubt about the person,” said Tarzagi, who flew in from Madrid on Tuesday to see the person’s work.
Terrazgi stated that the canvas matches the description and shape of the same Caravaggio works listed in the inventions of the 17th century collectors, and that Pilate’s figure was based on a model that appears in another Caravaggio’s work, “Rosary’s Madonna, ”Now at the Künthistereisches Museum in Vienna.
Tarzagi stated that he thinks the painting was made around 1606 in Naples. He said the canvas suffered from some paint damage and discoloration, and was “not in very good condition.”
“The problem is proven,” said Tarzagi, who reported that the painting disappeared from documentation in the mid-17th century. “There are holes in the story that we need to clarify.”
The value of the painting is also a matter for clarification. The last major painting offered on the market as Caravaggio was “a newly discovered canvas”Judith and Holofern Toulouse is scheduled to be sold at auction in 2019. Estimated at € 100 million to € 150 million, the painting was withdrawn shortly before sale and purchased privately by a New York-based collector J. Tomilson hill For a price close to a reserve of € 30 million. Scholars were divided on whether it was only depicted by Caravaggio.
As this latest possible redistribution could no longer leave Spain, we would not know what it would have made if it had been accepted as Caravaggio and been introduced to the international market.
But Christie’s former expert Anthony Crickton-Stuart, now director of the dealer Agnostic, A gallery in London, may speculate. “If it was offered on the open market, and it had the full support of most scholars, I think it would cost at least € 50 million,” said Crickton-Stuart – about $ 60 million. “But how long is a piece of string?”