A LONG lost Italian masterpiece found hanging above an oven in an elderly woman’s kitchen has made the pensioner an instant multimillionaire.
The painting, by the 13th-century pre-Renaissance artist Cimabue was sold at auction for £20.7 million after it was discovered last month.
The painting entitled Christ Mocked was discovered last month in the town of Compiègne in northern France.
For years, the centuries-old painting hung above a hotplate in the woman’s kitchen.
It was only when an auctioneer spotted the artwork that the woman was advised to have it evaluated by experts where tests were later carried out on the artwork using infrared light.
A NEW WORLD RECORD
An anonymous buyer from the region paid four times the estimated €6million expected sale price.
It’s a new world record for a medieval painting sold at auction, Acteon Auction House said.
Auctioneer Dominique Le Coent said the sale represented a “world record for a primitive, or a pre-1500 work”.
He added: “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.
“When a unique work of a painter as rare as Cimabue comes to market, you have to be ready for surprises”.
Cimabue was the father of the Renaissance. But this sale goes beyond all our dreams.
Auctioneer Dominique Le Coent
Italian painter Cimabue, also known as Cenni di Pepo, was born in Florence where he was active in the late 13th and early 14th Centuries.
He was a transitional figure between the stylised art of the medieval period and the more naturalistic works of the Renaissance.
He is widely considered the forefather of the Italian Renaissance and taught Italian master Giotto.
FOREFATHER OF RENAISSANCE
The artwork, which measures just 20 by 26cm, is believed to be part of a larger work of painted scenes divided into several panels.
The scene depicts Christ’s passion and crucifixion and dates from 1280.
Two other scenes from the same Cimabue series can be seen at London’s National Gallery, and the Frick Collection in New York.
Cimabue’s work was largely influenced by Byzantine art, produced on poplar wood panels with backgrounds of gold paint.
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Earlier this month a Banksy painting of MPs as chimpanzees in the House of Commons sold at auction for a whopping £9.9million last night as the artist said “shame I didn’t still own it”.
The oil painting ‘Devolved Parliament’ shows MPs as monkeys and is 13ft wide.
And last year, a Picasso masterpiece sold for almost £50 million – making it the most expensive painting ever auctioned in the UK.
‘Femme au béret et à la robe quadrillée’, from 1937, is a depiction of Marie-Therese Walter, Picasso’s muse, and it had never been offered publicly.
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