Imagine holding a treasure worth millions in your house without as much as knowing it! Now, that’s what the sad plight (or good fortune) of a certain elderly woman was! Little to her knowledge, the unnamed lady from Compiègne, France had in her custody a rare Renaissance painting that is expected to be more than 700 years old. Yes, that’s right!
Hung neatly in the hallway to her kitchen, the painting was recently discovered for its original glory when the woman asked an auctioneer to scan her house before she could move out. Much to the surprise of the auctioneer and the lady, the dusty and almost tattered painting turned out to be a handiwork of Cenni di Pepo, also known as Cimabue, a 13th-century Florentine painter famous for mentoring Giotto.
The painting is believed to be part of a larger work, a companion piece to one in the Frick Collection, known as “The Flagellation of Christ” acquired in 1950, and one in London’s National Gallery, titled “The Virgin and Child With Two Angels” which was acquired in 2000. The enticing artwork measures 8 by 10 inch and is said to be in very good condition despite the lack of care received by it.
Commenting on it, Philomène Wolf, the auctioneer who discovered it in a statement said, “You rarely see something of such quality,” She further added, “I immediately thought it was a work of Italian primitivism. But I didn’t imagine it was a Cimabue.” The artwork will be auctioned at Actéon this week for an estimated price between $4.4 million- $6.6 million.