the government blocks the sale of a painting that could be by Caravaggio

the government blocks the sale of a painting that could be by Caravaggio
the government blocks the sale of a painting that could be by Caravaggio
The “crown of thorns” was to be auctioned for 1,500 euros, but the painting could well take on value. Until now, this oil on canvas was thought to be the work of a painter from the José de Ribera school, but it was declared “non-exportable” and could not leave Spanish territory according to government sources.

The government relies on a report from the Prado Museum that provides “sufficient documentary and stylistic evidence” to consider the work to be by Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio, says Le Caravage.

The auction house confirmed that the painting was no longer for sale. A technical and scientific study must now determine “during an academic debate, whether attribution to Caravaggio is really possible,” government sources said.

“It’s him”

Caravaggio specialist Maria Cristina Terzaghi, professor of modern art history at the University of Rome III, expressed doubts about the author of this “Ecce Homo” and indicated that it could be a canvas by the Italian master (1571-1610).

“It’s him,” she assured in the columns of the Italian newspaper La Repubblica. “The purple cloak with which Christ is dressed has the same value as the red of the Salome (with the head of Saint John the Baptist) of the Prado in Madrid”, of Caravaggio, according to her.

“This work presents a deep link with the paintings carried out” by Caravaggio “at the beginning of his Neapolitan stay”, she said. Pontius Pilate in the foreground is also reminiscent of Saint Peter, martyr of Our Lady of the Rosary, visible at the Kunsthistorisches in Vienna.

Discovery in an attic in Toulouse

Another canvas discovered in an attic in Toulouse, France, and attributed by experts to Caravaggio, has caused a lot of talk in recent years.

Bidding for 30 million euros and estimated at 100 to 150 million, “Judith and Holofernes” was sold in June 2019 to a foreign buyer, 48 hours before its auction, which had therefore been suspended.

After its discovery in 2014, this painting was classified by the French state as a “national treasure” in order to prevent its sale abroad too.

But the lack of certainty on its authenticity, which divided the experts, and its value had finally played in the decision of the State not to acquire it.
A few days after the sale, the buyer had been identified by the media as an American art collector close to the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

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