Newly Attributed Caravaggio Painting That Nearly Sold for $1,600 USD to Exhibit at Prado Museum

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Newly Attributed Caravaggio Painting That Nearly Sold for $1,600 USD to Exhibit at Prado Museum

A newly attributed painting by the 16th century Italian artist Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio will soon go on view at Madrid’s Prado Museum. The artwork, which measures 43.7 x 33.8 inches and depicts Jesus Christ wearing a crown of thorns prior to his crucifixion, nearly sold at a Spanish auction house in 2021 for $1,600 USD, as it was widely believed to be the work of Caravaggio’s disciple, José de Ribera.

After experts examined the artwork further, however, the painting was deemed an original by Caravaggio — who is believed to have only created roughly 60 paintings in his lifetime — and has a value that could be “stretched into the tens of millions, if not more,” according to the Associated Press.

Entitled Ecce Homo (1605-09), the work is believed to have once been in the private collection of Philip IV of Spain. Since the 19th century, the painting was in the possession of a Madrid family who was recently granted clearance to sell to an undisclosed buyer after conservators finished inspection. “It’s an enormous opportunity and one we’re thrilled about,” said Prado director Miguel Falomir in a statement. “We’re also celebrating the fact that this great work of art will stay in Spain and become part of Spain’s culture.”

“Caravaggio’s stylistic evolution in the last 10 years of his life was pretty innovative, expressionistic, free and striking,” added David García Cueto, who leads Prado’s department of pre-1800 Italian and Spanish painting. “The Ecce Homo, painted around 1607-1610, offers a complementary vision of Caravaggio’s late work and condenses the best of the master’s style in his final years.”

Ecce Homo will be unveiled at the Prado Museum on May 28 and stay on view until October, 2024.

Prado Museum
C. de Ruiz de Alarcón,
23, Retiro, 28014 Madrid, Spain

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