Monday, October 18

The Prado Museum sees “good reasons” to attribute to Caravaggio the ‘Ecce homo’

The Ecce Homo attributed to Caravaggio.

The Ecce Homo attributed to Caravaggio.

The Official Gazette of the Community of Madrid (BOCM) has published this Wednesday the resolution by which the file for the declaration of Asset of Cultural Interest of the painting attributable to Caravaggio with the title ‘Ecce Homo’ is opened, which includes part of the report issued by the Prado Museum that sees “well-founded reasons” in this attribution.

According to the museum’s description of the well of the declaration, “There are well-founded formal and documentary reasons to consider that it is probably the original work of Michelangelo Merisi di Caravaggio (1571-1610), which was in the seventeenth century in the collection of the secretary of the court of Naples, Don Juan de Lezcano, which was subsequently passed on to that of the viceroy, Count of Castrillo, with which he would have arrived in Madrid.

As collected the resolution, in accordance with the technical report issued by the Prado, the origin of this painting could be related to the collecting of the viceroys of Naples in the seventeenth century.

The resolution orders that this is notified to the interested parties, for the appropriate purposes, and that a report is requested from the Royal Academy of Fine Arts of San Fernando that if it is not issued in the month following your request, it will be understood in a favorable sense to the declaration.

Likewise, through it, a public information period is opened for a period of one month, counting from the date of its publication, during which the interested parties, the Madrid City Council and the Regional Heritage Council will be given an audience. Historical, “so that as many people as interested can examine the file”, by appointment, at the offices of the General Directorate of Cultural Heritage, “and present the allegations that they deem appropriate.”

Likewise, the resolution will be notified to the General Registry of Assets of Cultural Interest of the Ministry of Culture and Sports and to the Registry of Assets of Cultural Interest of the Community of Madrid, for its preventive annotation for the appropriate purposes.

The Ansorena gallery withdrew last Wednesday, April 7, a work that represents a scene of Christ as an ‘ecce homo’ attributed to the Círculo de José de Ribera, as appears in the information of lot 229 of auction 409 of April 8, and that it was scheduled to go on sale for a price of 1,500 euros.

The reason is that the work, which was attributed to a painter from José de Ribera’s workshop, It could be a Caravaggio original.

The Minister of Culture and Sports, José Manuel Rodríguez Uribes, he backed his department’s decision to withdraw the work from a Spanish auction.

In addition, he asked the Community of Madrid to declare the work Asset of Cultural Interest (BIC) so that “with this double guarantee it is ensured that the painting can stay in Spain and things are done well”.

The confirmation of its authorship will require specialized technical studies for which ownership of the work must provide access to researchers in accordance with current legal regulations.

If this is confirmed, the work would add to the values ​​of artistic and technical quality that it already presents, as indicated in the BIC declaration, the authorship by an “exceptional” Italian painter, that “it revolutionized painting in a realistic sense and that it had a fundamental influence on many artists of the seventeenth century.”

However, and in the event that the property that is the object of the declaration was not ultimately the work of Caravaggio, there is an agreement between the specialists in the matter that painting, high quality, he would confidently respond to “one of his most immediate followers.”

In this regard, “there is no doubt that the painting constitutes a magnificent testimony of the first Italian naturalism, a school that exerted a great influence on all European art”.

At the moment it has not been possible to carry out a direct visual inspection of the work, and the Community of Madrid continues to wait for Ansorena to respond to its request to provide the identity of the owners, according to sources from the Ministry of Culture and Tourism.

In addition, the same sources have specified that in principle the process to determine the authorship of the work it can last nine months.

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