Art enthusiasts, behold! The Louvre Museum in Paris just added to its collection. Imagine a scenario: you’re checking out some elderly woman’s kitchen and stumble upon an artistic masterpiece worth millions. This is the reality that unfolded in the quaint town of Compiegne in 2019.
The discovery of “Christ Mocked”
According to reports, an elderly woman harbored a hidden gem, which she hung above a hot plate used for cooking food. She casually kept the 10-inch by 8-inch painting, thinking it to be a Greek religious icon. However, art specialists tasked with deciphering its origin, confirmed it as a painting by Ciambue.
Shockingly, the painting turned out to be “Christ Mocked” by the illustrious Florentine painter Cimabue, dating back to 1280. This discovery kicked off a saga that culminated in the Louvre Museum in Paris. At a prior auction, the masterpiece fetched a staggering 24.2 million euros ( Ksh 4 billion). Prompted by the commotion it caused, the French government intervened.
The Louvre adds “Christ Mocked” to its collection
Therefore, France blocked its export and bestowed upon it the prestigious status of a “national treasure.” As a result, it initiated a 30-month window that involved fundraising efforts by the French government to purchase. After four years, the museum proudly announced the painting as the newest addition to its revered collection.
Rima Abdul Malak, France’s Minister of Culture, and Laurence des Cars, President and Director of the Louvre, made the announcement. This isn’t just any ordinary painting. Cimabue’s artistic legacy comprises approximately 11 known works, representing only a handful in existence. Thus, this feels like finding a unicorn in a sea of horses.
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Moreover, “Christ Mocked” will soon reunite with its siblings. The piece will join the larger Cimabue painting “family” for a grand exhibition event at the Louvre in spring 2025. Cimabue’s pieces are scattered across prestigious galleries like pieces of a puzzle waiting to be pieced together. One at the National Gallery in London, and another at the Frick Collection in New York.
This almost feels like a worldwide treasure hunt tale, only with more refined tastes and fewer pirates. So, dear reader, let this story be a reminder to check your kitchen cupboards carefully. Who knows, you might just stumble upon a Da Vinci nestled among the cookie jars.