The Spanish government on Thursday blocked the auction of a painting that could be attributed to Caravaggio, an oil on canvas hitherto considered the work of a painter from the school of José de Ribera and estimated at 1500 euros, said the Minister of Culture. “The Ministry of Culture declares a painting that should have been auctioned in Madrid because it could be attributed to Caravaggio” unportable, “tweeted José Manuel Rodriguez Uribes in an article in the daily El Pais on the case.
The painting was withdrawn from the auction, confirmed to AFP the auction house Ansorena which was in charge of the sale. “The various experts are currently studying the work,” she added, confirming that the canvas had “been declared inexportable and will not be able to leave Spain”. According to specialist Maria Cristina Terzaghi, associate professor of modern art history at Roma Tre University, this painting is a Caravaggio. “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 del Prado in Madrid”, signed Caravaggio, according to her. “This work has a deep link with the paintings carried out by Caravaggio at the beginning of his Neapolitan stay”. Likewise, Pontius Pilate in the foreground recalls Saint Peter’s martyr of Our Lady of the Rosary visible at the Kunsthistorisches in Vienna.
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