In the latest Topical Tuesday we’re looking at a painting that was found in a French that sold for £20 million.
The painting was created in the 13th century, and became the most expensive medieval painting ever sold.
It is called The Mocking of Christ and is by the Italian artist Cimabue. It is thought to date back to the year 1280 and is one part of a polyptych, which is a painting that has been divided into a series of panels.
Despite its huge price at auction, the painting itself is very small – just 20 centimetres by 26 centimetres. Other panels from this series are on display at the National Gallery in London and the Frick Collection in New York, in the US.
The painting was discovered as an elderly woman was preparing to move out of her home in the French town of Compiègne. The woman, who asked for her identity to be kept secret, said she didn’t know where the painting had come from.
Before she moved, an expert called Philomène Wolf visited the house to see if there were any valuable items that could be sold, otherwise it would all have been thrown away.
It was predicted that the painting would sell for around £5 million. However, on the day of the auction – which attracted a crowd of 800 people – an unnamed buyer paid four times that amount.
This PDF resource includes this article, as well as accompanying activity ideas:
Debate whether rich collectors should be allowed to keep artistic masterpieces locked away in private homes where the general public can’t see them
Write a funny story about something you’ve painted being found years later and sold for millions
Have you been to a gallery or museum? Write a descriptive piece about it and the things you saw
Research the five most expensive paintings ever sold, listing the title, artist and price, and writing a brief description of each