It was a chance discovery, made by a family looking for a leak in their attic. But is a painting found in the French city of Toulouse the work of Caravaggio?
Some experts think so, valuing it at 120 million euros. Titled “Judith Beheading Holofernes,” it lay hidden for one-and-a-half centuries.
Paris specialists have carried out two-years of tests.
“It’s true that the image of this picture is surprising, it doesn’t look like other Caravaggios,” said art expert Eric Turquin.
“But first we know that the composition is Caravaggio, we know that there was a great picture in its time which was of this subject which was seen by other painters and third the execution, the masterly execution,” he continued.
“A painter has tics, is this correct? A painter is like us, he has tics, and you have all the tics of Caravaggio in this. Not all of them, but many of them. Enough to be sure that this is the hand, this is the writing of this great artist.”
Other experts have attributed the painting to Louis Finson, a Flemish painter and art dealer familiar with Caravaggio, who also made copies of his works.
“This picture is full of invention, it’s full of pentiments, it’s full of changes, it’s full of invention, and a copyist does not invent, if not he’s not a copyist. A copyist is faithful, he’s servile, he’s just dry, but this is the opposite,” said Turquin.
“It’s a picture which is painted with such an energy, but to realise that you have to get into the picture, to really come close to it and see how it is handled.”
The Louvre museum in Paris is now examining the painting. It has been awarded “National Treasure” status, meaning it can’t be exported for 30 months.
If genuine, the French government will get the first chance to snap it up.