Imagine you are cleaning your house and you end up finding an old frame of art. What are the chances that the junk you find in your storeroom ends up being worth millions of dollars? Well, for one such homeowner, this imaginary scenario came true.
Who Was The Lucky Homeowner?
In 2019, during a regular house clearance, The Times documented the discovery of the painting. Unaware of its value, the owner—a woman in her nineties—had been regarding the painting as a mere Russian icon, intending to discard it as worthless before its true worth was revealed.
Initially dismissed as having no significant value, the painting ultimately fetched a staggering $25 million at auction.
What Happened After The Painting Was Discovered?
Unearthed in a provincial French kitchen during a house clearance and marked for disposal, “Christ Mocked” by the Florentine master Cimabue has been recognised as a national treasure. Its next destination is the esteemed Louvre Museum in Paris, where it will reside and be admired by visitors worldwide.
Why Did The French Government Intervene?
Álvaro Saieh Bendeck, a prominent economist from Chile, and his wife, Ana Guzmán Ahnfelt, an architect, acquired the artwork for their private collection. Yet, their plans faced a hurdle when the French government rejected the painting’s export license, posing a challenge to their ownership.
Recognizing its immense cultural value, the French government designated the masterpiece as a national treasure, granting the Louvre Museum a 30-month window to gather the required funds for its acquisition. In a recent development, an agreement was reached between the museum and the painting’s owners, ensuring its permanent position within the Louvre’s esteemed collection.
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