A rare Renaissance painting from the 13th century that was found hanging above a French woman’s stove will find its new home at the Louvre in Paris.
Just two days after the panel was auctioned off for $26.8 million in a major bidding war, making the elderly woman a millionaire, she died and her estate was split between three heirs, as reported by Artnet News.
Believed to be completed in 1280 by Italian artist Cimabue, “La Dérision du Christ” or “The Mocking of Christ” was discovered in 2019 hanging in the woman’s kitchen in Compiègne.
The 743-year-old poplar wood panel had been one of eight paintings for an altarpiece that depicted the Passion of Christ.
The Musée du Louvre announced Nov. 3 that it had acquired the painting along with another “national treasure” — an 1855 drawing by Victor Hugo, “Marine Terrace,” as reported by The Art Newspaper.
The Louvre’s director Laurence de Cars said in a statement that the work marks the “fascinating transition from icon to painting.”
The painting will be presented alongside the ‘Maestà,’ another piece by Cimabue from 1275-1300, as part of an exhibition in spring 2025.
The French government spent 30 months raising the funds for the rare painting and blocked its future export, calling it a “national treasure.”
“These are two exceptional works, formerly in private collections, both classified as ‘national treasures,'” the French Culture Ministry said in a statement.
“These acquisitions are the result of an exceptional mobilization of the Louvre Museum which allows to keep works in France coveted by the greatest museums of the world, and to make them accessible to all.”