€6m Cimabue painting discovered in a northern French town

Christ Mocked. Courtesy of Interencheres

A Renaissance painting by Florentine master, Cimabue, has been found in a woman’s house, in the northern French town of Compiègne. The long-lost work, titled Christ Mocked (1280) is believed to be part of a polyptych – a large work of art divided into several smaller panels – depicting the passion and crucifixion of Christ.

Two other scenes from the same Cimabue series can be seen at London’s National Gallery — The Virgin and Child with Two Angels, and the Frick Collection — The Flagellation of Christ, in New York.

Christ Mocked is estimated to fetch between €4 million and €6 million ($6.5m; £5.3m) when it comes to auction in auction house Acteon in Senlis, north of Paris, on October 27, 2019. This is the first time in modern history that his work will go under the hammer. Experts are confident of its provenance. “The painting was done by the same hand,” art expert Éric Turquin told French newspaper Le Figaro.

Xavier F. Salomon, chief curator at the Frick Collection in Manhattan, home to the only Cimabue painting outside Europe, told the Washington Post: “He’s seen as the grandfather of Western painting and he’s very, very rare. So, the discovery of a new work by him is a really incredible thing.”

Cimabue – also known as Cenni di Pepo or Cenni di Pepi – is understood to be the last great painter and mosaicist in the Byzantine style. He produced work on poplar wood panels with backgrounds of gold paint, such as The Madonna and Child in Majesty Surrounded by Angels at the Louvre in Paris.

Madonna and Child in Majesty Surrounded by Angels at the Louvre in Paris. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons