Newly Discovered Caravaggio will be Unveiled at the Prado in Madrid This Month

Artnews_ A painting that nearly sold at auction three years ago for $1,600 has been revealed to be a missing masterwork by the by the Italian Baroque painter Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio. It will go on public view for the first time at the Prado in Spain on May 27, according to the Associated Press.

The painting, which depicts Jesus Christ being present to the masses just before his crucifixion, is titled Ecce Homo and is one of only 60 works in existence known to have been painted by the artist, the Prado said. It is thought that the picture was once in the private collection of Phillip IV of Spain.

Ecce Homo (around 1605-09) was set to go to auction in April 2021 as the work of Caravaggio’s student José de Ribera. However, Spanish authorities put a halt on the sale and subjected the work to an export ban after they were alerted by the Prado of the picture’s illustrious provenance.

The consigners were a Madrid family who had owned the work since the 19th century. Following inspection and restoration, the owners were given permission to sell the work by Madrid’s regional government. According to the Associated Press the value of the work could have “stretched into the tens of millions, if not more.”

The new owner, who remains unidentified, chose the Prado for the picture’s coming out party. Since April 2021, the work has been “under the custodianship of the Colnaghi art gallery in collaboration with experts” and was restored by specialist Andrea Cipriani “under the supervision of experts from the Madrid regional government.”

Ecce Homo will be on view through October, after which it will go into the museum’s permanent collection for another four months.