The revival of the "Old Masters of Art" has become more than a phrase with several masterpieces going under the hammer in the last couple of years. The latest in the series is Italian master Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio's "Judith and Holofernes", believed to be painted in 1607. If the reports doing rounds are to be believed, then the painting is expected to fetch upto $171 million in an auction scheduled to be held on June 27 this year.
The long-lost vintage painting was found by accident by French auctioneer Marc Labarbe in his Toulouse house attic, gathering dust and getting spoiled by a water leak. When Labarbe inquired about the painting from art appraiser Eric Turquin, he was in for the biggest shock of his life. The only proof of the lost masterpiece, prior to its discovery, were 2 letters addressed to the Duke of Mantua in 1619 carrying the details of the paintings, a copy of the same in possession of art dealer and painter Louis Finson and its mentioning in an inventory of the estate of Abraham Vinck which was carried out in Antwerp in 1619.
The painting represents a biblical story mentioned in Roman Catholic orthodox versions of the Old Testament. It's about a widow named Judith from the city of Bethulia, that came under siege from a Syrian army. It's said that to save the city Judith seduced general Holofernes and beheaded him inside his tent. The painting depicts the exact scene of the beheading of the general.
Though the painting was found by Labarbe in 2014, art appraiser Turquin kept it a secret for more than 2 years and kept it hanging inside his bedroom. In 2016, when the news of the painting came to the fore, the French government sent in investigators and officials of the Louvre, the world's largest museum, to consider if they want to buy it or not. Although the museum decided not to buy it, Turquin asserts that it's the original piece and as per art experts, could fetch more than what Louvre spends in 4 years together, that is more than $150 million.
Courtesy: Times Now
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