French woman had Renaissance painting worth millions hanging above her stove

A small Renaissance masterpiece of Jesus Christ who is surrounded by a group of men
PHOTO: The painting is thought to date back to 1280. (Suppled: AFP)

An early Renaissance masterpiece by the Florentine master Cimabue has been discovered in an elderly woman’s kitchen in a town near Paris, according to art experts.

Key points:

  • The painting is thought to be part of a large diptych dating back to 1280, when Cimabue painted eight scenes depicting Christ’s passion and crucifixion
  • The elderly owner thought it was just a rather old religious icon when she took it to her local auctioneers to be valued
  • The painting will go up for auction on October 27

 

Christ Mocked, by the 13th-century artist who taught Giotto, is estimated to be worth between 4 and 6 million euros ($9.7 million), according to “old masters” specialists Eric Turquin Expertise.

They said the work was owned by an old lady in the northern French town of Compiegne who had it hanging between her kitchen and her sitting room.

It was directly above a hotplate for cooking food.

The painting is thought to be part of a large diptych dating back to 1280, when Cimabue painted eight scenes depicting Christ’s passion and crucifixion.

Two other scenes from the work hang in the National Gallery in London (The Virgin and Child with Two Angels) and the Frick Collection in New York (The Flagellation of Christ).

The scene in the National Gallery was also lost for centuries, and only found when a British aristocrat was clearing his ancestral seat in Suffolk.

It was given to the nation in 2000.

The French painting’s elderly owner thought it was just a rather old religious icon when she took it to her local auctioneers to be valued.

Early Renaissance art was hugely influenced by Byzantine art, which is still produced in a similar style today on a background of gold paint.

However, tests using infrared light found that there was “no disputing that the painting was done by the same hand” as other known works by Cimabue, Eric Turquin said.

It will go under the hammer at the Acteon auction house in Senlis, north of Paris, on October 27.

AFP

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