Lost Caravaggio masterpiece unveiled at Prado museum after remarkable discovery - Hindustan Times
close_game
close_game

Lost Caravaggio masterpiece unveiled at Prado museum after remarkable discovery

AFP | | Posted by Akanksha Agnihotri
May 27, 2024 02:33 PM IST

Discover the captivating saga of Caravaggio's "Ecce Homo" as it emerges from mistaken identity to rightful recognition at Madrid's Prado museum.

A painting by Italian master Caravaggio, once mistakenly thought to be by an unknown artist and almost auctioned off, will be unveiled Monday at the Prado museum in the Spanish capital. Entitled "Ecce Homo", the dark canvas depicts a bloodied Jesus wearing a crown of thorns just before his crucifixion. It is one of around only 60 known works by the Renaissance artist. A Madrid auction house had been due to sell the painting in April 2021 with an opening price of 1,500 euros ($1,627), mistakenly attributing it to an artist belonging to the circle of 17th century Spanish painter Jose de Ribera.

Embark on a journey through the captivating tale of mistaken identity and remarkable discovery as Caravaggio's renowned masterpiece, "Ecce Homo," takes center stage at the Prado museum in Madrid. (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS / AFP)
Embark on a journey through the captivating tale of mistaken identity and remarkable discovery as Caravaggio's renowned masterpiece, "Ecce Homo," takes center stage at the Prado museum in Madrid. (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS / AFP)

But just hours before it was to go under the hammer, the culture ministry blocked the operation on suspicion it was actually by Caravaggio, whose works are worth millions. The ministry action came after the Prado museum sounded the alarm, saying it had "sufficient documentary and stylistic evidence" to suggest that the work was in fact by Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio.

Now catch your favourite game on Crickit. Anytime Anywhere. Find out how

The museum announced earlier this month that top experts have determined that the painting is "without a doubt, a Caravaggio masterpiece", calling it "one of the greatest discoveries in the history of art". The painting has been restored and will be displayed to the public for the first time since it was confirmed as a Caravaggio at a press conference at the Prado museum on Monday. Experts who worked on its identification and restoration will take part.

Spanish media have reported that the new owner is a British national who lives in Spain and who paid 36 million euros ($39,056,000) for the painting, which may remain on public display after its run at the Prado for several months. The painting "is not going to end up in the home of its buyer" who wants it to join "public collections, for the moment, on loan", Jorge Coll, the lead of London art gallery Colnaghi which handled the sale, told Spain's top-selling newspaper El Pais.

‘Had no doubt’

Painted around 1605-1609, the dark and atmospheric canvas is believed to have at one point been part of the private collection of Spain's King Philip IV, before being exhibited in the apartments of his son Charles II. One of the experts who took part in its authentication, art history professor Maria Cristina Terzaghi of Italian university Roma Tre, told AFP in a 2021 interview that when she saw a picture of the painting sent to her by WhatsApp by some art dealer friends, she "immediately realised it could be very important".

She flew to Madrid to see the canvas and "had no doubt... it was clear it was a work by Caravaggio". For her, the evidence was ample: from "the head of Christ" to the glow of his torso, the colour of his cloak and "the three-dimensional nature of the three figures, who are offset in a transition that is almost cinematic". Caravaggio, who had a violent and chaotic life, pioneered the Baroque painting technique known as chiaroscuro, in which light and shadow are sharply contrasted.

Art historians use various methods to determine the legitimacy of an artwork, including forensic examination of the canvas and paint to determine its age, the technology and styles of the era it was created in, and the techniques of the artist or their students.

Get World Cup ready with Crick-it! From live scores to match stats, catch all the action here. Explore now!.

Catch your daily dose of Fashion, Taylor Swift, Health, Festivals, Travel, Relationship, Recipe and all the other Latest Lifestyle News on Hindustan Times Website and APPs.
This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.
SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
SHARE
Story Saved
Live Score
OPEN APP
Saved Articles
Following
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Sunday, June 16, 2024
Start 14 Days Free Trial Subscribe Now
Follow Us On