Imagine going to fix a leak in the roof of your house, and finding a lost Caravaggio instead. That apparently is what happened to a French family in Toulouse two years ago. The picture, below, Judith and Holofernes, has been researched by the French art expert and auctioneer Eric Turquin, and he has assembled a number of art historians who have pronounced the picture genuine.
The discovery was being kept under wraps, but the story was broken last week by the sharp-eyed French blogger Didier Rykner, after he spotted that the picture had been temporarily listed as a 'National Treasure' by the French government. The picture is now being analysed by the Louvre, who will pronounce on its authenticity. The figure of €120m has been attached to it.
Is the picture 'right'? Well, so far what are the known facts? The most pertinent ones are outlined in the video above by M. Turquin. I've attempted to go into the matter in a little more detail. But bear with me here, because I am not a Caravaggio scholar, and there is very little information available so far. I'm also rather busy today, so the thoughts below might be a little jumbled up.
- First, we know Caravaggio painted a Judith and Holofernes in about 1598/9. That painting (below) is in Rome. Here's a high res photo of it. Naturally, it's very good.
- The claim is that Caravaggio painted another version of the subject at about the same time, and the Toulouse picture is it. An AHN reader in Paris has kindly sent some high res photos of details of the new discovery - and it is very good....MUCH MORE