Caravaggio's misplaced 'Ecce Homo' is now within the Prado Museum | Culture | EUROtoday

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At 9:15 a.m. this Monday, the road of journalists and historic artwork consultants on the door of the Prado Museum competed with that of vacationers and different guests. After three years of thriller, the Behold the person by Caravaggio, one of many misplaced work of the Baroque genius, may be seen within the artwork gallery from May 28 to October 13. That frameless piece, yellowed by the passage of time and layers of varnish that appeared in a Madrid public sale room in 2021 and was going to promote for 1,500 euros, is now a restored work, with a brand new historic ebony body, that hangs alone in a room within the Prado. A small area, repainted in darkish tones, with solely three factors of sunshine that illuminate the work, its legend and an enormous title in order that no viewer doubts that they’re a masterpiece for hundreds of years surrounded by thriller: Ecce Homo, El Caravaggio perdido.

In entrance of the portray, attempting to handle the journalists' requests, Maria Cristina Terzaghi, one of many world's main consultants on Caravaggio, finds it troublesome to cover her emotion, pleasure and satisfaction. She was one of many first to see the portray on the Ansorena public sale home, additionally one of many quickest to level out that it was a chunk by the Baroque painter. In reality, her preliminary conviction didn’t hesitate to place it in writing in July 2021 when she printed a scientific report during which he concluded that it was Caravaggio. “I am very happy,” she says with out shedding sight of the portray, “the restoration has turned out very well and the operation has been a success: it is in private hands, but we can all see the Behold the man”. He Behold the man It has been restored by a team led by the Italian expert Andrea Cipriani who has been fixing the damage to the piece. Under his command, specialists such as Claudio Falcucci and Carlo Giantomassi, another relevant restorer who participated in the work on Michelangelo's frescoes on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.

As the expert explains, the piece will be in an exclusive room at the Prado until October 13. Its new owner, an English contemporary art collector who acquired the work in August 2023 for around 30 million euros, has reached an agreement with the museum to display the fabric temporarily on loan. That is to say, the Prado has not had to shell out a euro. The objective is that, once this first deadline that ends in October has been met, the piece will be integrated into the museum's discourse and hang in the space dedicated to the painter and his contemporaries, although it is not yet defined how long it will remain in this institution. .

When October 19 arrives, Ecce Homo will meet David conquering Goliath, the only painting by the baroque artist in the museum. At this moment, they are just a few meters away. They still have to start talking, but it is already possible to assess that they are two complementary works. “Our painting represents the first maturity of Caravaggio's painting, still with a very neat, precise and quite careful technique,” ​​says David García Cueto, head of the Department of Italian and French Painting till 1800, who additionally by no means took his smile off his face. Monday morning. He is aware of it's an essential day. In April 2021, García Cueto was one of many folks from the Prado who alerted the Ministry of Culture that this portray by Ansorena was not from the painter Ribera's circle (the attribution made by the public sale home) nor was it price 1,500 euros. It was due to this warning that the portray was declared unexportable in about 24 hours and was protected as an Asset of Cultural Interest by the Community of Madrid.

“It has been 45 years since something like this has happened, for a caravaggio and that the critics are unanimous in including it in their catalogue… The martyrdom of Saint Ursulain 1981, lived a process similar to the one we are witnessing here today,” García Cueto recalled to finish giving polish to this Monday's presentation.

Caravaggio's last stage

“He Behold the person It permits us to see its technical evolution in direction of a way more agile closing model that doesn’t neglect the brushstrokes that outline the main points,” explains García Cueto. “In this final stage of the painter, a great pictorial intelligence is perceived that has not only to do with his artistic maturation, but also with his own life journey: Caravaggio has to leave Rome for fear of being captured and facing a judicial process that could lead to a death sentence. He passes through Naples, through the island of Malta, through Sicily and Naples again.” This state of affairs, says the professional, leads him to “a vital hopelessness, even to a certain anguish that causes a metamorphosis of his art” that’s perceived within the Behold the person, the one privately owned portray at the moment on show on the Prado. Even so, there is no such thing as a kind of written reference to the possession of the portray, neither is it even indicated that it belongs to a personal assortment or to a person. This a part of the thriller survives: who is that this English collector, the brand new proprietor?

Caravaggio's 'Ecce Homo', exhibited in the Prado.
Caravaggio's 'Ecce Homo', exhibited within the Prado.Eduardo Nave

García Cueto additionally focuses on the characters with whom Caravaggio created this composition during which Pontius Pilate presents Christ earlier than the gang carrying a crown of thorns, a reed as a scepter and a purple cloak that his torturers had positioned on him, to ridicule him for having claimed that he was the king of the Jews. On the opposite aspect, a soldier emerges behind Christ along with his mouth open, maybe shouting on the crowd, giving drama to the work.

The three characters check with fashions utilized by Caravaggio in some beforehand painted work, and their dramatic gestures are attribute of the artist's model of pictorial narration. “Already in The vocation of Saint Matthew which is in the church of Saint Louis of the French in Rome, attacks Pontius Pilate according to the fashion of his own time. He does not make a historicist evocation of how people would supposedly be dressed in the time of Jesus, but rather he dresses him in clothing typical of the 17th century itself that we can recognize in the representation of the character in this painting based on a model that had previously appeared in the Virgin of the Rosary, a painting preserved today in the Vienna Museum,” provides García Cueto.

The different reference that hyperlinks this piece with earlier works by Caravaggio is within the determine of Jesus, within the heart of the portray. “He has a facial definition very similar to that of the character who also embodies Jesus in the painting of the flagellation in the Capo di Monte Museum in Naples, and is quite recurrent in the artist's most youthful production with his mouth half open, the executioner or executioner who is placing Christ on his shoulders,” García Cueto continues.

Now, for the primary time, the 2 work that arrived in the identical boat to Spain from Naples shall be exhibited on the identical time in Madrid: this Behold the persony Salome with the top of the Baptist, within the Gallery of the Royal Collections. The works first seem with appreciable certainty in 1631 among the many property of Juan de Lezcano, a secretary to the viceroy on the courtroom of Naples, Terzaghi has defined that he spent months diving into archives looking for paperwork. “Later, in 1657 it passed into the hands of the Count of Castrillo, who was at the head of the Neapolitan viceroyalty from 1653 to 1659. The pieces were sent to Madrid, the painting passed to King Philip IV, appearing in 1666 in the Real Alcázar,” he mentioned. continued the Caravaggio professional. “It remained in the royal collection ever since, being recorded in 1789 in the Casa de Campo. Later it was from Carlos IV's minister Manuel Godoy”, this information is one of the novelties that Terzaghi has contributed. The next clue is in the Royal Academy of Fine Arts of San Fernando at the beginning of the 19th century. “In 1823, that institution was exchanged for a work by Alonso Cano to the politician Evaristo Pérez de Castro, from whose descendants the current owner has acquired it,” the specialist has summarized.

Terzaghi, Keith Christiansen (curator of the Metropolitan Museum of New York), Gianni Papi (art historian) and Giuseppe Porzio (art historian at the University of Art) sign a book in which they not only attribute together the Behold the man to the genius of the Baroque, but they also review the entire historical journey of the painting until March 2021. The only detail that they have not been able to specify is the date of completion of the work, they place it between 1607 and 1610. The rest of the mysteries in around the painting are already resolved.

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