The Moment - Feb 22, 2020

Experts Divided Over Caravaggio Found in Attic

  • April 13, 2016 12:36

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Judith Beheading Holofernes, a possible Caravaggio found in Toulouse.

Two years ago, the owners of an old house near Toulouse found a dusty painting behind a locked door in their attic. After a cleaning, the work began to resemble a Caravaggio. The rediscovery of a possible lost work by the Old Master, thought to be a second version of his famous Judith Beheading Holofernes (1598) at Rome's Palazzo Barberini, was kept hidden until last month. That's when the French Ministry of Culture put on a 30-month export ban on the artwork, revealing the possible discovery to the world. 

Caravaggio's Judith Beheading Holofernes (1598) at Rome's Palazzo Barberini.

“This recently rediscovered work of great artistic value, which could be identified as a lost composition of Caravaggio, known so far by indirect evidence, merits being retained in the territory as a very important milestone in the work of Caravaggio, while its attribution is researched," the ministry wrote in a statement.

Expert Eric Turquin put the value of the painting at about €120 million ($137 million), reported the AFP. He characterized "the light, the energy typical of Caravaggio, without mistakes, done with a sure hand and a pictorial style that makes it authentic."

The Guardian's art critic Jonathan Jones, disagrees, writing of the new discovery: "It certainly has the shine and colour of a Caravaggio, the cinematic light effects he is so famous for. But it has none of his psychological intensity."

Read more at Guardian

Tags: old masters

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