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Lost Masterpiece Found in Attic Worth Millions

A 400-year-old painting, allegedly painted by Italian Baroque painter, Caravaggio, was found in an attic in France.

While investigating a leak in a ceiling, the painting was found in the rafters of an attic in Toulouse, France. Found in 2014, the piece has been studied for two years by art historians. After two years of study, historians claim it be a masterpiece by the leader of the Baroque movement.

Experts have valued the painting at around 120 million euros, or 136 million dollars. French officials have called for an export ban since experts believe the piece to be authentic. The painting has been housed in the Louvre for study.

“The rediscovery of an original masterpiece by Caravaggio is a great event,” art historian Eric Turquin said. He cites that this “should be considered by far the most important canvas recovered in the last twenty years, from one of the geniuses.”

"Judith Beheading Holofernes" alleged Caravaggio around 1604-5, oil painting, 56" x
“Judith Beheading Holofernes” alleged Caravaggio around 1604-5, oil painting.

Tilted “Judith Beheading Holofernes”, the painting is grisly, emotive, and gory. Although Caravaggio has another painting tilted the same, the story of Judith was a popular subject matter amongst Baroque artists. Compared to his painting of the same name, this piece appears more gruesome and realistic. Some historians believe Caravaggio may have painted this when he fleeing from a murder charge in Rome.

Historians such as Turquin believe the painting is authentic as it has, “…the light, the energy typical of Caravaggio, without mistakes, done with a sure hand and [the] pictorial style.” Other historians are arguing Louis Finson, a Flemish painter and disciple of Caravaggio, may have done the painting.

If the painting is truly a Caravaggio, then this will be one the greatest discoveries since the early 1990’s, when another Caravaggio was found in Dublin. Whether it is authentic or not, it will be a landmark in art discoveries of the 21st century.

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