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08 April 2021

A painting attributed to the Ribera school was about to be sold by the Ansorena auction house in Madrid with an estimate of 1500 euros before being hastily removed from the online catalog.

"The lot was withdrawn because the piece needs to be checked and studied more thoroughly. The owners had doubts", explains the Auction House, but there could be much more behind the mysterious withdrawal.

According to critics, the painting could be



Ecce Homo,

of which traces had been lost over the centuries.

The attribution to Caravaggio is not based only on the statements of the experts, but also on the interpretation of some documents.

It would be the work painted for Cardinal Massimi of which Caravaggio himself writes: "I, Michel Ang.lo Merisi da Caravaggio, obliges myself to apply to the illustrious S [Ignor] Massimo Massimi in order to be paid for a painting by value and greatness like what I already made for him at the Coronation of Crixto p [er] on the first of August 1605. In faith I have written and signed this day 25 June 1605 by my hand. I Michel Ang.lo Merisi ".

Historians Bellori and Baldinucci report that at the end of the 17th century this work was in Spain.

The only Ecce Homo by Caravaggio is that of the Doria collection kept in Palazzo Bianco in Genoa.

If the "Spanish" painting were to be attributed to Merisi, doubts would also arise as to the authorship of the Genoa work.