Unknown La Tour portrait revealed by Prado
Saturday 04 June 2005
An anonymous oil painting that languished for decades in a Madrid mansion has been identified as a major work by the 17th century French master, Georges de la Tour.
The Prado museum's experts hailed the unexpected find as "a fantastic discovery". The vibrantly fresh portrayal of Saint Jerome reading a letter, shows an elderly cleric studying a letter intently through lorgnettes.
The artist's mastery of light led Prado experts to identify the painting as an important work by the mature la Tour, executed around 1627.
The chance discovery was made by Cesar Antonio Molina, director of Spain's Cervantes Institute, the government's international cultural organisation. "When I took over, I asked for a list of all our artworks, and found this anonymous painting in our Madrid headquarters registered as Portrait of a Cardinal," Mr Molina said yesterday. "It seemed to me of artistic value, and I was curious about this letter, so I asked the Prado to evaluate it."
The painting hung for decades in the building formerly occupied by Spain's Foreign Ministry, shunted from office to office. The Cervantes Institute recently moved into the building: "but no one had ever taken the trouble to ask the experts to look at the work," Mr Molina said.
The painting was whisked to the Prado in March, where the museum's specialist historian Jose Milicua identified it instantly. "When I saw that painting, I thought 'I know you'. It was like recognising a member of the family," Mr Milicua said yesterday.
A tug of war in the art world is now likely. The Cervantes Institute wants to keep it, as does the Prado. And the Louvre's predatory instincts have also been aroused by such a major French masterpiece.
- 1 I was a Woman Against Feminism too
- 2 Fifty Shades of Grey movie trailer released: First look at Jamie Dornan as Christian Grey
- 3 Is Gideon Levy the most hated man in Israel or just the most heroic?
- 4 Students offered grants if they tweet pro-Israeli propaganda
- 5 The Tory donor whose firm is one of Britain’s biggest tax avoiders - with HMRC's blessing
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Vladimir Putin is given 'one last chance' to end hostilities in Ukraine
The 'scroungers’ fight back: The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering
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
£30000 - £38500 Per Annum + 25 days holiday, pension, subsidised restaurant: C...
£34000 - £37000 Per Annum + excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Lt...
£40000 - £45000 per annum + Pension, Holiday, Flexi-time: Progressive Recruitm...
£280 - £320 per day: Progressive Recruitment: C#, WinForms, Desktop Developmen...