They sell a "lost" Caravaggio for US $ 170 million 1:39
A stately villa in the heart of Rome, home to the only ceiling mural by Italian painter Caravaggio, will go up for auction at a starting price of 471 million euros ($ 547 million) in January, a court confirmed. from Rome.
While most of the infrastructure was demolished in the 19th century, Villa Aurora is the only remaining part of the larger Villa Ludovisi, a 16th-century house that was considered "one of the wonders of the world," according to the historian. of art Claudio Strinati in a column published in the newspaper Repubblica this Friday.
A few meters from Via Veneto, the iconic street commemorated by the director of "La Dolce Vita" Federico Fellini, Villa Aurora is flanked by a garden and several garages, and covers a total of 2,800 square meters, according to public sale documents published by the Ministry of Justice.
The six-story property is home to a host of works of art, including an oil mural painting attributed to Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio, better known simply as Caravaggio, whose work became synonymous with the artist's visceral depictions of violence.
Spanning the ceiling of a small 2.75-square-meter room, Caravaggio's Villa Aurora mural depicts three gods: Jupiter, Neptune, and Pluto, gathered around a translucent globe.
Caravaggio's version of a classic to pay tribute to healthcare workers 1:23
It was commissioned by Cardinal Francesco Maria Del Monte in 1597, who would have used the room as an alchemical laboratory, according to the expertise commissioned by a court, published by the Ministry.
The painting has an estimated value of more than 310 million euros (US $ 360 million), according to Alessandro Zuccari, a professor of modern art history at Rome's Sapienza University.
Zuccari, who was summoned by the court to estimate the artwork within the property, concluded in its court-ordered valuation that Caravaggio's painting is "priceless, being the only mural by one of the greatest painters of the time. modern ".
The villa is also frescoed by the Baroque painter Giovanni Francesco Barbieri, known as Guercino, who worked in the villa between 1621 and 1623. Among Guercino's works are the fresco of Aurora, the Roman goddess of dawn, who was painted for the nephew of Pope Gregory XV, Alessandro Ludovisi.
Villa Aurora belongs to the Boncompagni Ludovisi family, descendants of Pope Gregory XV.
However, no details of the judicial reasons underlying the auction have been disclosed.
But maintaining the property will not be cheap.
One of the conditions for whoever buys the property will be to invest US $ 12,781,395 in restoration costs.
As a protected art site, the state will have the right of first refusal on the villa.
The auction company Fallco Zucchetti handles the sale.