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Newly discovered medieval painting goes to The Louvre

A medieval painting that was discovered in France in 2019 is now going to The Louvre. ‘The Derision of Christ’ by Cimabue was one of the most expensive paintings ever sold when it was auctioned for €24 million.

Cimabue (c.1240 – 1302) was a Florentine artist and considered one of the forerunners of the Renaissance. About 15 of his works survive to the present day and display that he was influenced by Byzantine art.

Experts at The Louvre believe that the ‘The Derision of Christ’ was once part of a large diptych created around 1280 and that two other parts of that work also exist: the Flagellation of Christ (New York, Frick Collection) and Virgin and Child with Two Angels (London, National Gallery). The painting in London arrived in England around 1830, which suggests that the diptych was split up at that time.

‘The Derision of Christ’ will go on display at The Louvre in 2025 as part of a special exhibition on Cimabue. Laurence des Cars, Director of the Louvre, says “Being able to announce the acquisition of these two exceptional works is a great joy for me. Firstly because ‘The Derision of Christ’ by Cimabue, constitutes a crucial milestone in the history of art, marking the fascinating transition from icon to painting. It will soon be presented alongside the ‘Maestà’, another masterpiece by Cimabue belonging to the Louvre collections and whose restoration is currently continuing. Together, the two paintings will be the subject of an event exhibition in spring 2025.”

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