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Long-lost Cimabue masterpiece found hanging in kitchen sells for €24m

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The painting "Christ Mocked", a long-lost masterpiece by Cimabue
The painting "Christ Mocked", a long-lost masterpiece by Cimabue -
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REUTERS
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A painting found in an elderly woman's kitchen above her cooker has sold for 24 million euros ($26.6 million) at an auction.

The long-lost piece by Cimabue, a 13th century Italian artist, was spotted when an auction house specialist came to the woman's residence in Compiegne, north of Paris.

The "Christ Mocked" painting had hung in the kitchen for years. It is one of only around 10 of the artist's known works to have survived to this day.

The tiny painting, measuring just 20 by 26 cm (approximately 8 by 10 inches), is believed to be part of a diptych consisting of eight small panels.

The painting sold for more than four times the pre-auction estimate, auction Acteon house said on Sunday.

"To finish at €24,180,000 is more than we could have dreamed of," said Dominique Le Coent, the head of the auction house.

"It was the sale of all possibilities, meaning an immense painter, Cimabue, and a unique work of art. There are no others. From that point on, anyone who wanted a Cimabue painting today was ready for anything."

The auction house did not reveal the identity of the bidder but said a foreign museum had been among the bidders.

Costs excluded, the painting sold for 19.5 million euros.

Born in Florence, Cimabue, also known as Cenni di Pepo, was a pioneering Italian primitive painter.

He was one of the first to use perspective and paint in a more natural style that broke with medieval and Byzantine traditions.

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