Art expert, discovers oldest primitive painting, sells for $ 21,000,000 in auction
With an estimation of 4 to 6 million euros ( 4,5 -6,7 M$), the painting finally sold at the hammer for 19,5 M euros or $21million.
Acteon, who organized the sale, did not specify the purchaser profile. The artwork was found by chance during a move in the house of an elderly lady in Compiegne.
It is the first time in decades that a painting by Cimabue was for sale in an auction. "This sale makes it the most expensive primitive painting sold in the world.
It also ranks it as the 7th most expensive old master sold in the world, after Leonardo da Vinci's Salvator Mundi, the Massacre of the Innocent of Rubens, a Pontormo, a Rembrandt, a Raphael and a Canaletto ".
Among the eight bidders were museums. The auction started at 3 million euros. The mocking Christ is the theme of this small painting (25.8 cm by 20.3 cm), painting with egg and gold background on poplar panel, an element of a polyptych (*) of 1280 in which were represented on eight panels of similar size scenes of the Passion. Two of the scenes were known to date: The Flagellation of Christ (Frick Collection, New York) and The Virgin and Child enthroned and surrounded by two angels (National Gallery, London).
Andre Turquin expert for old masters analyzed the painting and explained: "The traces of the old frame, the little round dots executed in the same way with the punch, the style, the ornamentation of the gold background, the correspondence of the backs of the panels and the respective state of the three panels confirm that these panels were the left flap of the same diptych " ,
Infrared reflectography revealed an underlying design and an excellent state of preservation, despite some minor alterations. The pictorial layer is in excellent condition, although very dirty over the centuries. "Even if the painting is austere, there is an emotion in the faces, the gestures",
Cenni di Pepo, called Cimabue, (1272-1302), is one of the greatest figures of the pre-Renaissance. Florentine painter, he assured the renewal of the Byzantine painting by breaking with his formalism and his images codified by the dogma. Influenced by the Franciscan spirit, he opened the doors to the naturalism of the art of the pre-Renaissance, giving a soul to his characters and realizing the first perspectives. This work is, therefore, one of the first pieces of evidence of Western art, which opens the way for the greatest painters such as Giotto, a disciple of Cimabue.