Home / Funny / Viral / Lost Caravaggio Painting Rediscovers By Prado Museum In Spain


A painting was about to go up for auction in Spain in 2021 when the government intervened to stop the sale. The artwork, which had an initial price tag of €1,500 ($1,600), was identified as being by José de Ribera, an apprentice of Italian painter Caravaggio. When the esteemed Prado Museum began to suspect that the painting might actually be a long-lost work by the Baroque master himself, it notified the authorities. With the confirmation of its origins, one of the greatest mysteries in recent art history has been resolved.

The 44 x 34-inch piece of art, titled Ecce Homo, was produced between 1605 and 1609. Caravaggio's rendition of the biblical theme of Pontius Pilate presenting Christ to the people while he was bound and wearing a crown of thorns is depicted in this oil painting on canvas. Being one of only 60 known works by Caravaggio, the painting is thought to have once belonged to Phillip IV of Spain's private collection. As a result, its estimated value is in the tens of millions of euros.

Tests were performed to establish the painting's authenticity prior to restoration by expert Andrea Cipriani and his team. "Ecce Homo is a masterpiece by the Italian artist, according to four of the most authoritative experts on Caravaggio and Baroque painting, and they all share this passionate certainty," the museum states. According to Maria Cristina Terzaghi, one of the experts, there was an unprecedented level of consensus quickly that the painting was by Caravaggio, given the painter's critical history.

A Madrid family who had owned the painting since the 19th century was granted permission to sell it privately earlier this year after reaching a deal with local authorities. One of the restrictions placed on the new owner—whose identity has not been made public—is that the painting cannot leave Spain without official government approval.

The painting has now been loaned to the Prado Museum for a period of nine months, in what the museum has described as a generous gesture by its new owner. It will be on display for the first time to the public as part of a unique one-piece exhibition on May 28, 2024, and remain on display through October 2024.

After that, Ecce Homo by Caravaggio will spend an additional four months in the Prado's permanent collection. "The piece is a striking illustration of Caravaggio's conceptional mastery: an accomplished composition showcasing a dynamic and three-dimensional scene that is wholly original, yet adhering to a long-standing iconographic tradition," the Prado Museum remarks.

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