A French woman recently discovered that a painting hanging in her kitchen is an artistic treasure worth millions of dollars.
Reports said the elderly woman from Compiègne, France, thought the 8″ x 10″ painting was just an old religious icon. But when she had it valued, experts said there was no question as to where the piece came from.
“It didn’t take long for us to see that it was an artwork by Italian painter Cimabue. He’s a father of painting so we know his work very well,” said Jerome Montcouquil of art specialists Cabinet Turquin.
“Cimabue, who taught Italian master Giotto, is widely considered the forefather of the Italian Renaissance. He broke from the Byzantine style popular in the Middle Ages and incorporated elements of movement and perspective that came to characterize Western painting,” according to the Charlotte Observer.
The piece by the 13th century artist titled “Christ Mocked” is estimated to be worth between $4.3 million and $6.6 million, France 24 reported.
“The painting is thought to be part of a large diptych dating from 1280 when Cimabue painted eight scenes depicting Christ’s passion and crucifixion,” the report stated.
Expert Éric Turquin said that the tunnels made by wood-eating larvae aided him in confirming the painting’s authenticity.
“You can follow the tunnels made by the worms,” Turquin said. “It’s the same poplar panel.”
Montcouquil said experts used infrared light to examine the painting and discovered that they could even see the distinct corrections made by Cimabue, which matched his other works. The facial expressions of the subjects and the depiction of the buildings also match the artist’s style.
“It’s wonderful to be reminded that there are paintings of such major importance that are still out there and still to be discovered,” said independent art consultant, Alexis Ashot.
Reports said the painting is set to go to the Acteon auction house on October 27 in Senlis, France.