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A Cimabue masterpiece becomes the most expensive primitive painting in the world


>> Kurt Cobain's legendary vest was sold for $ 334,000
>> A very rare primitive painting by the Italian painter Cimabue, offered for auction

The mocked Christ, religious icon of the Italian Renaissance painter Cenni di Pepo, called Cimabue. Photo from September 23rd.

Photo: AFP / VNA / CVN

The sum was 19.5 million euros under the hammer, without the costs. The work was estimated at between 4 and 6 million euros. Acteon, who organized the sale, did not specify which profile the buyer of this table had found by chance when moving to the home of an elderly lady in Compiègne. This is the first time in decades that a painting by Cimabue was under the hammer.

"This painting becomes a primitive painting (Pre-1500) the most expensive in the world (…) and also the 8e the most expensive old painting in the world behind Leonardo da Vinci's Salvator Mundi (2017), The Massacre of the Innocents of Rubens (2002) Lot and his daughters by Rubens (2016) the portrait of Cosimo de Medici de Pontormo (1989) Rembrandt's portrait of a woman (2000) the portrait of Laurent de Medicis by Raphael (2007) and the Canaletto Canaletto (2005)"said in a statement Actaeon, who first said it was the 7th.e,

The auction started at 3 million euros. Of the eight bidders, three were in the room. "This record shows that today, thanks to the power of platforms like Intertercheres, we can sell an art object from anywhere in the world," insists Dominique le Coënt, director of the Actéon Group, which owns houses in Senlis, Chantilly, Compiègne, Lille and Paris.

"Christ mocks" is the subject of this small painting (25,8 cm x 20,3 cm), egg painting and gold ground on poplar board, element of a diptych from 1280, in which eight panels were represented similarly large scenes from the Passion.

So far, two of the scenes were known: The Flagellation of Christ (Frick Collection, New York) and The Virgin enthroned to the child and surrounded by two angels (National Gallery, London).

An old lady, who kept the work, had reported it to the Acteon sales house in Compiègne, without being able to say where it came from. The small image that shows Christ in the midst of a crowd of people with growling and grim expressions hung between his living room and his kitchen above a hot plate.

Excellent condition

"The traces of the old frame, the small round dots executed in the same way as the stamp, the style, the ornamentation of the golden background, the correspondence of the backs of the panels and the respective condition of the three panels confirm this. The panels formed the left part of the same diptych", the auction house said after an analysis by the company Turquin, expert in ancient art in Paris.

Infrared reflection, despite some minor changes, resulted in an underlying design and excellent state of preservation. The picture layer is in excellent condition, though it has been very dirty over the centuries.

"We have had interest from all the major museums around the world, and collectors of contemporary art, whom we did not know, were also very interested, which is a fairly new phenomenon." We experts in ancient painting ", Eric Turquin reported.

"Even if the picture is strict, there is an emotion in the faces, the gestures", he said.

Cenni di Pepo, called Cimabue (1272-1302), is one of the greatest figures of the pre-Renaissance. Florentine painter, he assured the renewal of the Byzantine painting, breaking with his formalism and its images codified by dogma.

Influenced by the Franciscan spirit, he opened the doors to the naturalism of pre-Renaissance art, gave his characters a soul and realized the first perspectives. Thus, this work is one of the first evidences of Western art that paves the way for the greatest painters, such as Giotto, the pupil of Cimabue.


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