Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Aleteia
Saturday 16 January |
Saint of the Day: Bl. Giuseppe Antonio Tovini
home iconNews
line break icon

France blocks export of Cimabue painting found in elderly woman's home

Cimabue's Christ Mocked

Philippe LOPEZ | AFP

John Burger - published on 12/28/19

Government says it is a "national treasure" and wants to raise enough funds to purchase it for the nation.

France is so intent on keeping a recently found masterpiece in the country that it has blocked the painting’s export until it can raise enough money to buy it.

The French government has declared the recently found 13th-century Cimabue painting to be a “national treasure,” the BBC reported.

“France has barred the export of Christ Mocked for 30 months to allow time to raise funds to buy it for the nation,” the British broadcaster said. “Found in September, it was sold at auction the following month for €24m (£20m; $27m).”

In September, it was reported that the owner of the painting, an elderly woman who assumed it was an old Russian icon, had decided to move and was preparing to throw away just about everything in the house. She called in an expert, Philomène Wolf, from a local auction house to appraise anything that might be valuable. Wolf saw something special in the icon the moment it came into view.

Cimabue was an influential artist in Renaissance Italy and is credited with advancing art through the use of proper proportion. “His Christ Mocked is one of three panels that have survived from his work known as the Diptych of Devotion, painted around 1280,” the BBC said. “The other two panels are in New York and London’s National Gallery.”

The French culture ministry said in a statement that Christ Mocked was in good condition and revealed more than the other two panels how Cimabue used a new language of expression, especially “visible in the humanistic treatment of the face of Jesus, the rendition of people’s expressions or space.” It said that Culture Minister Franck Riester had followed the recommendation of France’s commission for national treasures to block the painting’s export abroad to allow funds to be raised with the aim of enabling the work to be exhibited in the Louvre in Paris alongside another Cimabue work, the Maestà de Santa Trinita.

Tags:
ArtFrance
Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read Aleteia.org every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in eight languages: English, French, Arabic, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...




Top 10
DAD, HOW DO I?
Cerith Gardiner
Meet the dad who's teaching basic skills on Y...
FORGIVING COUPLE
Bret Thoman, OFS
An exorcist teaches 4 steps to forgive
Philip Kosloski
What is the Holy Cloak of St. Joseph?
LUXOR FILM FESTIVAL
Zoe Romanowsky
20-year-old filmmaker wins award for powerful...
Kathleen N. Hattrup
Why God loves ordinary stuff: Pope Francis' r...
POPE FRANCIS; Ash Wednesday
Kathleen N. Hattrup
Vatican: Imposition of ashes on Ash Wednesday...
D'CRUZ FAMILY
Cerith Gardiner
Meet the family of 12 siblings with a very sp...
See More
Newsletter
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.