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Lost Caravaggio Painting Unveiled at Prado Museum

The Prado Museum in Madrid has unveiled a lost Caravaggio painting, marking a major discovery in art history

The Prado Museum has unveiled a painting by the Italian Baroque master Caravaggio, marking its first public exhibition this week after what the museum describes as one of the greatest discoveries in art history.

The painting, titled “Ecce Homo” (Behold the Man), had been lost since the 19th century until it resurfaced three years ago. Initially attributed to an unknown Spanish painter, the work was nearly auctioned in Spain for a fraction of its true value.

Caravaggio, who died in 1610 in his late thirties after a tumultuous life, was renowned for his mastery of the chiaroscuro lighting technique, which brought his subjects to life.

Depicting a suffering Jesus Christ crowned with thorns, the painting was created between 1605 and 1609, just before Caravaggio’s death, and is believed to have once belonged to Spanish King Philip IV.

“Now we can fully appreciate all the nuances, subtleties, and immense beauty that Caravaggio expresses in his version of ‘Ecce Homo’,” said David García Cueto, head of the Italian and French painting department before 1800 at the Prado Museum.

The painting’s new owner, an international art collector based in Spain, has signed an agreement with the museum to display the artwork until October, with the potential for an extension, as the owner intends for it to remain on permanent display.

Spain blocked the auction of the painting in 2021 after experts suggested it might be a work by Caravaggio rather than his Spanish contemporary José de Ribera, to whom it was originally attributed.

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