Little did the owner know, but that dark painting hanging in her kitchen for decades was a masterpiece potentially worth more than $6 million. The elderly French woman thought she owned a Greek religious icon. The 10-inch by 8-inch painting was not Greek, but a panel created by Florentine artist and early Renaissance master Cimabue (1240-1302). The set of eight panels were called “The Flagellation of Christ” and were made around 1280. The pieces, including this newly discovered piece called “Christ Mocked,” centered on the passion and crucifixion of Christ. Only two other panels are known to exist.
The artwork came to light when French auctioneer Philomène Wolf noticed the religious scene while clearing out the nonagenarian client’s Compiègne home. The painting was hanging over a hot plate used for cooking food but seemed undamaged. It is to be auctioned on Oct. 27 at the Acteon auction house in Senlis, just north of Paris. It will be the first Cimabue painting to be auctioned.
Photo: Washingtonpost.com/Charles Platiau/Reuter