What kind of picture?The canvas, measuring 144 by 175 cm, is believed to be the second, lost at the beginning of the 17th century, a version of Caravaggio’s famous painting “Judith killing Holofernes” (1599) by Italian genius Caravaggio. According to the testimony of his contemporaries, he seems to have created two versions of the work. The first, measuring 145 × 195 cm, is stored in Rome, in the Palazzo Barberini. The trace of the second work, created in Rome in the years 1604-05 (or after 1606 in Naples - the artist left Rome after the murder charge), was lost a long time ago. The mythical second version of the painting is mentioned in a letter of 1607 by the Flemish painter Frans Pourbus the Younger, 1569-1622 - he seemed to have seen the painting in the studio of the artist Louis Finson (1580-1617).
How did you find work?In April 2014, the owners of an old house in Toulouse puzzled a leak in the ceiling. To get to the site of a leaky roof, they had to go through a distant section of the attic, where no one had looked in for about 150 years. The Secret Room was locked, the key was long lost, and the owners, apparently not too curious, like their ancestors, broke the door.
How could she get to Toulouse?The ancestor of the current owners of the "house with the attic" served in Spain, participating in the campaign led by Napoleon, and, in principle, could bring back some kind of picture that could not find a place in the rooms of the house due to its too "strong" content.
In the attic - an old picture. Your actions?The family who found the canvas contacted local auctioneer Marc Labarde, who worked closely with renowned expert and art historian Eric Turquin. Noting the excellent preservation of the picture, he only slightly cleaned the work with a cotton swab dipped in water, and decided that the work was created no later than the XVII century by the master of the “Caravaggio School”.
For two years, the discovery was not widely announced: Turkan cleared the picture more thoroughly and examined it, consulting with other experts.
What is the price of the issue and why so much noise?
If the painting is recognized as the original by Caravaggio and included in the catalog of his works, the cost of the canvas will amount to 120 million euros (more than $ 135 million) - that was the initial estimate. Currently called and the amount of $ 178 million.
Taking Christ into custody by Michelangelo Merisi de Caravaggio 1602, 169 × 133 cm Well, and if the newly appeared “Judith killing Oloferna” will be recognized as Caravaggio's work, the scale of the sensation will be akin to an event in Dublin 1991, when the painting “The Kiss of Judah” (“Taking of Christ under Straž” ” "The Taking of Christ"), which hung in the Jesuit refectory since the early 1930s, was declared the work of Caravaggio (later, however, there was a debate about authenticity due to another discovery in Rome). But even if the experts decide that the painting found is an excellent copy of the work of a contemporary Caravaggio's brush, its price will be several millions. So the owners of a house in Toulouse, as one expert says, “still pulled a lucky ticket”.
Export Ban - What does this mean?Having received the verdict of the specialists of the Louvre, who examined the picture and recognized it as a very valuable ancient work, the Ministry of Culture of France imposed a temporary ban on the export of the painting, after which it can be offered for sale. Experts and experts have 30 months for a detailed study of the work.In the photo: art expert Stephane Pinta (Stephane Pinta) shows the X-ray picture of the picture during the press conference.
Caravaggio: who is "for", who is "against"?Nicola Spinosa (Nicola Spinosa), former director of the Capodimonte Museum (Naples), one of the leading experts on the work of Caravaggio, first expressed a sensational judgment (Caravaggio!) When Eric Turkan turned to him before the publication of the picture. He was engaged in research work.
The negative verdict of the most famous expert on Caravaggio made Mina Gregory (Mina Gregori), president of the Roberto Longi Foundation for the study of art history in Florence. We often see her name in the news related to exhibitions or attribution of pictures of the genius himself and the works of “caravaggists”.
Bruno Archiprete, an expert from Naples who restored two works by Caravaggio ("Flagellation of the Lord" and "Seven Works of Mercy '), admits the serious possibility that the work was created by the master himself, but speaks of the need for more thorough research. He also honestly admits that "we can never absolutely say for sure that Caravaggio personally had a hand in this picture. It can be a copy from his workshop ... This kind of questions always cause discussions among researchers."
In the coming weeks, the public is promised promulgation of the findings of two more experts on Caravaggio, the Italians Giuseppe Porzio (Giuseppe Porzio) and Maria Cristina Terzagi (Maria Cristina Terzaghi).The Seven Works of Mercy Mikelandgelo Merisi de Caravaggio 1607, 390 × 260 cm. Read also: Italian art historian Mina Gregory declares the discovery of the work “Ecstasy of Mary Magdalene” - Caravaggio’s masterpiece
Who, if not Caravaggio?Most likely, Louis (Louis) Finson, a follower of Caravaggio from Bruges. Since 1600, he was in Italy - he studied and interned in Rome and Naples, and there are (albeit controversial) references to the fact that Finson worked for some time in the Caravaggio workshop. In any case, according to the dates, he could well have time to join the master's secrets. In favor of the authorship version of Finson, the artist owned at least two authentic works by Caravaggio, and some of the master Louis copies were copied - for example, a copy of the painting “Madonna with the Beads ”(Madonna of the Rosary) is in the collection of the Museum of Art and History in Vienna, and the work“ The Ecstasy of Mary Magdalene ”is known - a copy of, presumably, the work of Caravaggio - the one recently found by Mina Gregory.
The patron and customer of the master's works was the famous French astronomer and antiquary Nicolas-Claude Fabri, Senor de Peirac (Nicolas-Claude Fabri de Peiresc). This Provencal patron mentioned the artist in his letter to Peter Paul Rubens.
"Finson has a wonderful sense of color, he draws well, although his characters are a bit heavy, they have no nobility, but I like the expressions of their faces."
It is this “heavy weight” of figures, with their masterful depiction, that critics of the authorship version of Caravaggio “pictures from the attic” note.