In the kitchen of an elderly Frenchwoman discovered a masterpiece of the Renaissance by Cimabue Automatic translate
PARIS. Art historians claim to have discovered in the kitchen of an elderly woman in her house near Paris the masterpiece of Cimabue, a Florentine artist who was dubbed the “father of the Renaissance”.
According to the expert on old masters Eric Turquin, “Torture of Christ”, the tempera painting on the wooden panel of the 13th-century artist is estimated at 4-6 million euros.
The work, depicting the passion of Christ, belonged to an elderly woman from the northern French city of Compiegne. She hung between her kitchen and living room, directly above the cooking stove. It is not known how an unnamed woman, not leaving her home and under legal guardianship, took possession of the work, which, in her opinion, was just a rather old religious icon.
Dominique Le Coënt-de Beaulieu, head of the Actéon auction house, said the judge called his colleague in June after the woman was placed in a nursing home. It is unclear whether the work was provided to other Renaissance experts to verify its authenticity. However, the auction house has already called the discovery of tempera on a gold leaf on a poplar panel “the main discovery for the history of Western art”, given the rarity of the works of Cimabue, which taught Duccio and Giotto.
It is believed that the picture is part of a large diptych dating from 1280, when Cimabue painted eight scenes depicting the torture and crucifixion of Christ.
Historians recognize only a dozen works on the panel as uniquely created by his hand, although not one of them is signed. Several paintings of Cimabue were lost in wars, floods and earthquakes.
Mr. Le Coent de Beaulieu said that his colleague understood that there was something special in the work, according to the emotions on the face of Christ, depicted more artfully in comparison with other famous Byzantine paintings that preceded this work.
“Cimabue was the first to present such figures in the earthly world with such feelings. The emotions are palpable, ”he said. It took Torkin a couple of months to confirm the origin.
Two other scenes from the works of this series are “The Virgin and Child with Two Angels” (located at the National Gallery in London) and “The Pearl of Christ” (“Frick Collection” in New York).
The scene from the National Gallery was also lost for several centuries and was discovered only when the British aristocrat studied his inheritance in Suffolk. He donated this masterpiece to the nation in 2000 after Sotheby’s expert discovered it during a routine evaluation. It is assumed that the work survived a major fire in the 1920s, when it was among piles of furniture and books rescued by servants from a burning house and found themselves in a mountain of rubbish on the lawn.
Regarding this latest shock discovery, a study using infrared radiation showed that “there was no doubt that the painting was done with the same hand” as other famous works of Cimabue, said art critic Eric Turkin.
To counter any doubters who would discuss a strange coincidence that Mr. Thurkin accidentally stumbled upon two masterpieces in France over the past five years, Mr. Le Coent de Beaulieu mentioned the existence of another proof of origin: the work was previously attached to another, exhibited at the National Gallery, before they were separated by a French collector.
“Traces of the original frame, small round dots made using the same type of stamp, the style of the gold ornament corresponding to the back of each of the panels and their similar condition, confirm that these panels were diptych,” said the auction house. “Despite a few minimal retouching spots in the eyes of Christ and one strand of his hair and repainting of a long stick over Christ’s head, the surface of the paint, in general, is in excellent condition, despite the heavy dirt that has accumulated for a long time.”
The analysis also revealed the “underlying pattern”. Work will go under the hammer in Actaeon in Senlis, north of Paris, October 27th. Proceeds from the sale will be transferred to the woman. It is not known whether she has any heirs.