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Spain blocks export of painting that could be a lost Caravaggio

Earlier than it was pulled from sale, lot 229, a small however luminous oil portray of the scourged Christ attributed to the circle of the 17th-century Spanish artist José de Ribera, had been on account of go underneath the hammer in Madrid on Thursday with a information value of €1,500 (£1,300).

Nearer inspection, nevertheless, has raised suspicions that the Crowning with Thorns will be the reasonably extra priceless work of the Italian grasp Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio, main the Spanish authorities to impose an export ban on the portray.

The canvas, which measures 111cm by 86cm, is now being studied by consultants to find out its authorship. The doable misattribution could also be comprehensible: Ribera, the son of a shoemaker, studied in Rome and was a famous follower of Caravaggio and an admirer of his use of chiaroscuro, the usage of robust contrasts between gentle and darkish.

Spain’s tradition ministry stated it had moved shortly to position a precautionary export ban on the portray after receiving a name from consultants on the Prado on Tuesday. Specialists on the museum stated there was “adequate stylistic and documentary proof” to recommend it could possibly be an authentic Caravaggio.

The ministry agreed to the ban at an emergency assembly on Wednesday and notified the public sale home, Ansorena, which withdrew the portray from Thursday night’s public sale.

“Given the velocity at which all this has been occurring, we now want a radical technical and scientific examine of the portray in query,” stated a supply on the ministry. “There must be an instructional debate about whether or not the Caravaggio attribution is believable and accepted by the scientific group.”

the painting - full frame
Crowning of Thorns carefully resembles a portray Caravaggio made in the course of the first a part of his time in Naples, says one skilled. {Photograph}: Ansorena.com

Maria Cristina Terzaghi, an artwork historical past professor on the College of Rome and an skilled on Caravaggio, stated she believed that the portray was by the Italian.

“It’s him,” she stated. “The composition of the purple within the purple mantle that covers Christ is similar because the picture of Salome with the head of John the Baptist within the royal palace in Madrid.’’

Terzaghi stated the work “carefully resembled” the portray Caravaggio made in the course of the first a part of his time in Naples.

A spokesperson for Ansorena stated: “Totally different consultants are learning the image to find out who painted it however I’ve no extra data. In any case, the image has been positioned underneath an export bar and can’t depart Spain.”

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