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17th-Century Painting Found in Leaky Attic

Friday, April 15, 2016

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For one French homeowner, a problem leak may have turned into a $135 million payday.

Various reports say that a family living in a 17th-century home near Toulouse, France, discovered a large painting covered in dust in their attic two years ago while investigating a leak.

Experts revealed the painting entitled, Judith Beheading Holofernes, during a press conference Tuesday (April 12) in Paris, according to The Guardian.

At least for now, the origin of the artwork remains a mystery. Some experts believe the work to have been created between 1600 and 1610 by Italian Baroque artist Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio, reports relate.

Caravaggio Original?

Painting expert Eric Turquin told reporters the painting has “the light, the energy, typical of Caravaggio, without mistakes, done with a sure hand and a pictorial style that makes it authentic.”

Turquin estimated the value of the work to be in the neighborhood of $120 million euros (about $135 million).

Others, like Mina Gregori, one of Italy’s most renowned art historians who specializes in Caravaggio works, say the painting isn’t original, but agree the piece is indicative of a true artisan.

"We will never be able to definitively say if Caravaggio himself held the brush," Annette Douay, an art authentication expert, reportedly told FranceTV Info.

A National Treasure

French authorities have awarded the painting “National Treasure” status, meaning that it cannot be exported from the country for 30 months while its authenticity is under investigation, reports say.

The painting depicts the biblical heroine Judith slaying an Assyrian general.

   

Tagged categories: Artists; Decorative Finishes; Design; Historic Structures; North America; Painters; water leakage

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