Astonishing Old Master Finds


Astonishing Old Master finds

As Spain blocks the sale of a newly discovered painting it suspects may be a lost masterpiece by Caravaggio, we look back at other recent astonishing art finds

Paris, (APP - UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 8th Apr, 2021 ) :As Spain blocks the sale of a newly discovered painting it suspects may be a lost masterpiece by Caravaggio, we look back at other recent astonishing art finds.

- Cimabue in the kitchen - A rare work by Italian early Renaissance master Cimabue discovered in a French kitchen is sold in October 2019 for 24 million Euros ($28.5 million), about five times the initial estimate.

"Christ Mocked" had been hanging between an elderly woman's kitchen and her sitting room. She had it valued, thinking it was just an old religious icon.

The figure was the highest ever reached for a mediaeval painting.

France banned the export of the work, snapped up according to press reports by a couple of Chilean collectors, to allow it to be bought by its national galleries.

- Caravaggio in the attic - A painting thought to be a lost masterwork by Caravaggio was found under an old mattress in the attic of a house in the French city of Toulouse in 2014.

"Judith and Holofernes", dated to 1606, depicts a biblical scene of the beautiful Jewish widow Judith beheading a sleeping Assyrian general.

The house's owners discovered it while investigating a leak in the ceiling.

After examining the piece for months, Eric Turquin, an art expert in Paris, authenticated the work as a Caravaggio. Most specialists agreed, though some in Italy had their doubts.

Estimated at 120 million euros it was snapped up by American collector Tomilson Hill in June 2019.

- Rembrandt bargain - In 2016 a Dutch art dealer bought a portrait at a Christie's auction in London that he was convinced was an authentic Rembrandt, even though it was listed in the catalogue as coming only from the master's "circle".

Rembrandt expert Jan Six had travelled to London days before the auction to discreetly examine the "Portrait of a Young Gentleman".

Undated and unsigned, it shows a young man wearing a black cloak with a white lace ruffle in a style distinctive of Rembrandt, who died in 1669.

Six bought the piece for 137,000 Pounds ($175,000, or 160,000 euros), far below what a real Rembrandt would fetch.

On his return to Amsterdam Six had the painting examined by other art historians, many of whom also believe it to be a genuine Rembrandt.

- Gauguin left on a train - In 2014 Italian police recovered a painting by French post-Impressionist artist Paul Gauguin and another by his contemporary Pierre Bonnard, which were stolen from a house in London in 1970.

Gauguin's "Fruits on a Table" (1889) and Bonnard's undated "Woman with Two Chairs" had been hanging in a retired Fiat factory worker's kitchen since he bought them in 1975 for the equivalent of around 238 euros today.

It appears the thieves left the unsigned paintings on a train and they were then handed in as lost objects at a Turin railway station.

Unclaimed, they failed to sell at auction and ended up in a flea market where the man bought them.

One of his sons later recognised the styles of Gauguin and Bonnard after consulting catalogues.

He went to the police and investigations verified they were stolen originals.

The paintings -- worth some 40 million euros in total -- were eventually returned to the Italian pensioner since he had bought them in good faith and the original owners had passed away, leaving no heirs.

- 1,500-euro 'Caravaggio' - Spain's culture minister halts the sale of a 17th-century biblical oil painting called the "Coronation with Thorns" Thursday after experts declare that it was probably another lost Caravaggio.

The canvas, with a guide price of just 1,500 euros ($1,800), had been attributed to the entourage of the Spanish artist Jose de Ribera.

It shows Jesus just before his crucifixion and has striking similarities to other works by the troubled Italian genius.

If Madrid's suspicions are right, it also could be worth in excess of 100 million euros.