“Christ Mocked,” a long-lost masterpiece by 13th-century Italian artist Cimabue, has been found hanging in the kitchen of a woman outside Paris.
The piece from the pre-Renaissance painter was part of a diptych that originally contained eight panels from the Passion of the Christ and could be valued between $4.4 to 6.6 million, according to French newspaper Le Figaro.
The painting was found in the town of Compiègne after an auctioneer saw the work, which the French woman in her 90s had hung in her home, and told her to have it appraised, reports the French news agency AFP. It had been hanging between the woman’s open-plan kitchen and her living room and placed directly above a hotplate for cooking food.
According to the woman, her family thought it was just another religious painting.
“You rarely see something of such quality,” Philomène Wolf, the auctioneer who discovered the painting, told Le Parisien. “I immediately thought it was a work of Italian primitivism. But I didn’t imagine it was a Cimabue.”
Art expert Éric Turquin, who studied and valued the painting, said tests using infrared light found that there was “no disputing that the painting was done by the same hand” as other known works by Cimabue, The Guardian reports.
He pointed out that other panels from the Cimabue series have similar patterns of worm holes, indicating their authenticity.
“It’s the same poplar panel,” Turquin said. “We have objective proof it’s by the artist.”
“Christ Mocked” depicts a Christ-like figure cloaked in dark robes surrounded by a group of men who appear to be bothering him. Several of the men carry swords.
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Leah MarieAnn Klett