W Power 2024

Lost Caravaggio work to go on display at Madrid's Prado museum

The Prado said it would display the "exceptional work"—which has been restored—from May 28 until October following an agreement with its new owner, who has not been identified

Published: May 7, 2024 11:44:34 AM IST
Updated: May 7, 2024 11:58:32 AM IST

The Prado said it would display a work by Caravaggio from May 28 until October.Image credit: Photography OSCAR DEL POZO / AFP©The Prado said it would display a work by Caravaggio from May 28 until October.Image credit: Photography OSCAR DEL POZO / AFP©

Madrid's Prado museum said Monday it will display a 17th-century oil painting by Italian master Caravaggio that was once thought to be by another painter and almost sold at auction.

Entitled "Ecce Homo", the dark canvas depicts a bloodied Jesus wearing a crown of thorns just before his crucifixion. It is one of around only 60 known works by the Renaissance artist.

A Madrid auction house had been due to auction the painting in April 2021 with an opening price of 1,500 euros ($1,615), mistakenly attributing it to an artist belonging to the circle of 17th century Spanish painter Jose de Ribera.

But just hours before it was to go under the hammer, the culture ministry blocked the operation on suspicion it was actually by Caravaggio, whose works are worth millions.

The ministry action came after the Prado museum sounded the alarm, saying it had "sufficient documentary and stylistic evidence" to suggest that the work was in fact by Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio.

"A detailed authentication process led by the most authoritative specialists of Caravaggio and Baroque painting have shown the work is, without a doubt, a Caravaggio masterpiece," the museum said Monday in a statement, calling it "one of the greatest discoveries in the history of art".

The Prado said it would display the "exceptional work" -- which has been restored --  from May 28 until October following an agreement with its new owner, who has not been identified.