A 13th-century masterpiece discovered hanging in an elderly French woman’s kitchen has sold for $26.6 million.
The painting, which is attributed to the artist Cimabue and is thought to have been done in about 1280, is a 10-inch-by-8-inch work of art that was discovered by an auctioneer who noticed it hanging on the wall in a woman’s house in Compiègne, France.
The masterpiece, titled “Christ Mocked,” was expected to fetch between $4.4 million and $6.6 million, but broke all expectations and was purchased by an anonymous buyer north of Paris for $26.6 million, which Dominque Le Coent of Acteon Auction House told the Associated Press represented a “world record for a primitive, or a pre-1500 work.”
“It’s a painting that was unique, splendid and monumental. Cimabue was the father of the Renaissance. But this sale goes beyond all our dreams,” Le Coent said.
Un chef d’oeuvre très rare du peintre primitif italien #Cimabue (1272-1302), “Le Christ moqué”, a été adjugé 24.180.000 euros, lors d’une vente aux enchères historique aujourd’hui à Senlis (Oise), a annoncé l’hôtel des ventes Actéon #AFP pic.twitter.com/Qn6SXvVqln
— Agence France-Presse (@afpfr) October 27, 2019
The woman in whose house the painting was hanging will get the “majority” of the money from the auction.
The owner said she didn’t know it was significant, but after appraisal, the wood painting was determined likely to be part of a diptych by the historic artist. There are noted similarities between the painting and two panels of Cimabue’s diptych that are currently hanging in museums in New York and London.
Alexis Ashot, an independent art consultant with auction house Christie’s, said the discovery was groundbreaking for the art world and showed that there are still masterpieces floating around that owners know nothing about.
“It’s wonderful to be reminded that there are paintings of such major importance that are still out there and still to be discovered,” Ashot said.
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