Spanish experts discover rare Bruegel
Friday 24 September 2010
Restorers in Spain's Prado museum have revealed a rare, previously unknown work by the 16th century Flemish master Pieter Bruegel the Elder.
The painting, "The Wine of Saint Martin's Day", is only the 41st known signed work by Bruegel in the world and is among the largest at 148 cm by 271.5 cm (4 ft 10" by 8ft 11").
It depicts dozens of people in various states of drunkenness, described by the Prado as "a sort of Tower of Babel composed of wine drinkers".
The Madrid museum had been restoring the painting since February and was able to identify it conclusively when an X-Ray revealed fragments of Bruegel's signature at the bottom of the canvas.
Bruegel painted it in tempera, a technique he rarely used joining pigments with an emulsion of water and glue. The artist more often used oils. The painting was dated at between 1565 and 1568.
Spanish Culture Minister Angeles Gonzalez-Sinde said the discovery was an "exceptional event" as the painting was shown in public Thursday for the first time.
According to a report in the daily El Pais newspaper Friday, the ministry is in talks to purchase the Renaissance work from its unidentified owners for seven million euros (nine million dollars), as little as a third of its estimated market value.
Prado management declined to give a price.
Gonzalez-Sinde said only that the museum had a chance to buy it at a "very advantageous price" and every effort would be made to ensure that the negotiations were successful.
The owners wanted the painting to be part of a Spanish public collection rather than allowing it to leave the country and become part of a private collection, she said.
Pilar Silva, head of the Prado's Flemish art section, said the painting needed another nine months of restoration work. It would be only the second Bruegel to hang at the Prado after "The Triumph of Death".
Is the comedy album making a comeback?comedy
Artists unveils new exhibition inspired by Hastings beachart
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Calum Chambers: Southampton's latest example of Generation X-factor
- 2 Crash victims in car flattened by shipping container emerge with just minor injuries
- 3 Students offered grants if they tweet pro-Israeli propaganda
- 4 Exclusive: David Cameron’s Big Society in tatters as charity watchdog launches investigation into claims of Government funding misuse
- 5 Joey Barton and Yossi Benayoun become involved in Twitter row over Israel-Gaza conflict
Britain's Got Talent and The X Factor 'wheel on people who have mental health problems' says comedian Jo Brand
Fifty Shades of Grey trailer: First look at Jamie Dornan as Christian Grey
Orange Is The New Black season 3: Pornstache isn't coming back
Fifty Shades of Grey trailer provokes moral outrage from US parenting groups
Coolio has sold his soul to Pornhub
The 'scroungers’ fight back: The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
A day in the life of Vladimir Putin: The dictator in his labyrinth
Arizona execution lasts two hours as killer Joseph Wood left 'snorting and gasping' for air
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Ukrainian military jet was flying close to passenger plane before it was shot down, says Russian officer
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Massive rise in sale of British arms to Russia
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: victims’ bodies bundled in black bags and loaded onto trains