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Spain: works auctioned from $ 1,800 could be Caravaggio




The painting was taken off the final list of items for auction after Spanish authorities banned its possible export on Thursday, citing initial evidence that its real author could be the Italian master, Spain’s Culture Ministry said in a statement.

The price of an authentic Caravaggio would run into tens of millions of euros (dollars), if not more.

The work still appears in the online catalog of Ansorena, a long-established Spanish auction house specializing in antiques and jewelry, under the name The Crowning with Thorns. The catalog says that it can be attributed to the circle of Jos de Ribera.

A self-styled Darkovan who made dramatic use of light and shadow like Caravaggio especially in his youth, Ribera was nicknamed Lo Spagnoletto, or the Little Spaniard, in Italy, where he continued most of his career in the first half of the 17th century.

According to the ministry, the Prado National Museum in Madrid drew the attention of authorities to the painting on Tuesday, after finding enough documentary and stylistic evidence that it could have been painted by Caravaggio, who lived between Naples, Malta. and Sicily from 1571 to 1610.

After a hastily organized meeting, the Culture Ministry informed the auction house of the export ban, a measure authorized by Spanish law to protect objects considered to be of cultural interest.

Culture Minister Jos Manuel Rodrguez Uribes told reporters on Thursday he was happy officials moved quickly to keep the painting in Spain. He recalled how, in 1976, the authorities could not prevent the Cleveland Museum of Art from acquiring The Crucifixion of Saint Andrew, another work by Caravaggio that belonged to the Spanish viceroy of Naples in the early 17th century. .

It could be that, in the end, it is a painting of a disciple of Ribera, as has been said. But, in any case, our decision … is very appropriate because the painting is very valuable, said Rodrguez Uribes. Hopefully it will be a Caravaggio.

The ministry said given the rapidity of developments, experts will undertake a thorough technical and scientific study of the artwork and academics will determine whether to attribute it to Caravaggio.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

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