Culture declares “inexportable” a painting that was going to be auctioned in Madrid on suspecting that it may be by Caravaggio Culture

'Ecce homo' removed from the Casa Ansorena auction in Madrid.
‘Ecce homo’ removed from the Casa Ansorena auction in Madrid.THE COUNTRY

The Casa Ansorena in Madrid had planned to auction a lot with a Behold the man titled The crowning with thorns attributed to the circle of José Ribera, dated in the seventeenth century. The starting price of the painting was going to be 1,500 euros. Lot 229 containing the piece has been withdrawn from auction due to doubts that have arisen regarding its authorship. There is a belief, as declared by the Minister of Culture José Manuel Rodríguez Uribes during a visit to the Estampa art fair in Madrid, that it is a caravaggio. At the moment, as Uribes has stressed, there is no confirmation. When in doubt, the Ministry’s Qualification Board met on Wednesday urgently and declared the situation unbearable. For now, you will not be able to leave Spain until verified.

“The decision is very appropriate because the painting is valuable,” said Uribes. “We have acted with great speed”, has had an impact and recalled that in the seventies a caravaggio “It ended up in Cleveland.” The minister has announced that he has asked the Community of Madrid to declare it an Asset of Cultural Interest (BIC). “With this double guarantee we make sure that the painting stays in Spain and that things can be done well,” he said. “Hopefully it is a caravaggio”.

“Several experts are studying the work”, they have declared from the Ansorena House that, for the moment, it has not made more declarations about the authorship and has limited itself to confirming that the piece has not been sold. When the Ministry learned of the auction, it contacted the Prado Museum and one of the experts in Italian painting from the gallery drew up a report in which, according to sources from the institution, only the doubts that different specialists were raised they had on the authorship of the painting. At no time, Prado sources have explained to EL PAÍS, the museum has ruled on the possibility that it is a work by Caravaggio. Both the Ministry of Culture and the Prado Museum have assured this newspaper that “a long verification process must begin” before a verdict can be reached.

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