Caravaggio’s “lost” Ecce Homo arrives at the Prado Museum

Caravaggio’s “lost” Ecce Homo arrives at the Prado Museum
Caravaggio’s “lost” Ecce Homo arrives at the Prado Museum

He Ecce Homo of Caravaggio which was almost sold for 1,500 euros at auction when it was thought to be by a minor painter, will be exhibited starting this week at the Prado Museum in Madrid.

This is a painting of “extraordinary value”, “lost” for years, and which represented “one of the greatest discoveries in the history of art” upon being certified as the work of the Italian master.

This is how the Prado Museum describes the 400-year-old work, which will keep it on display from this Tuesday until October, thanks to the “generosity of its new owner”, whom it did not identify, and who agreed to give it up in “temporary loan”.

Painted between 1605 and 1609he Ecce Homo (“Behold the man” in Latin) represents Christ with tied hands and a crown of thorns on his head, when he was presented by the Roman governor Pontius Pilate to the people with those words.

According to experts, this small oil on canvas was part of the private collection of King Philip IV of Spainbefore being exhibited in the chambers of his son Carlos II.

Bequeathed to the Royal Academy of San Fernando, in Madrid, he was recovered in 1823 by the Spanish diplomat Evaristo Pérez de Castro Méndez, who exchanged it for another work. From then on, he belonged to his family.

He Ecce Homo by CaravaggioEFE

In 2021, A Madrid auction house valued it at 1,500 euros. thinking that the author was a member of the school of Jose de RiberaSpanish painter of the first half of the 17th century known for his religious compositions.

Alerted by experts, the Prado Museum sounded the alarm about the «documentary and stylistic evidence “enough” that made one suspect that it was by Caravaggio.

Preventively, the Spanish Ministry of Culture blocked the auction, a measure taken at the last minute that later rescued the painting from oblivion. certified by specialists as the work of the Italian master.

Before reaching the Prado, which will show you in a «special individual installation»the painting was completely restored, under the direction of specialist Andrea Cipriani.

According to Spanish media, the painting was bought for 36 million euros by its new owner, a British citizen residing in Spain, and could remain on display to the public after its passage through the Prado.

«The painting is not going to end up in the buyer’s house»because he wants it “to be in public collections, for the moment, in the form of a loan,” explained Jorge Coll, head of the gallery in charge of its sale.

 
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