France Blocks Export of $26M Cimabue Painting Discovered in Kitchen

  • January 01, 2020 17:56

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Cimabue, "Mocking of Christ"
Actéon and Eric Turquin

A 13th-century masterpiece by Italian painter Cimabue that was found hanging above of a hotplate in an eldery woman's kitchen sold at auction for $26.8 million in October. But will the buyer be allowed to export the piece from France? 

France seeks to block the export of “Christ Mocked,” painted by Cimabue, the pseudonym for Cenni di Pepo. The rare work depicts the mocking of Jesus Christ before his crucifixion and is said to be one of three panels of the Passion of Christ.

Only 11 paintings by the artist are known to exist. "Christ Mocked" was only discovered after appraiser Philomène Wolf spotted it in the French woman's kitchen while scanning through house contents prior to a move. The woman's family had long thought the piece was a Russian icon.

After the work was authenticated and sold at auction, the French Advisory Committee on National Treasures blocked its export, giving France 30 months to come up with the funds to buy the work for the nation.

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