Obscure painting reassessed as $25 million Raphael masterpiece

A Renaissance painting found in a Scottish museum, long attributed to a lesser-known artist, is now believed to have been created by Raphael and may be worth up to $25 million. Photo courtesy of Haddo House, National Trust of Scotland

TARVES , Scotland, Oct. 4 (UPI) — An artwork discovered in Scotland was likely painted by Renaissance-era luminary Raphael, an art expert said, and could be worth over $25 million.

The painting was discovered in Haddo House, a mansion and public art gallery in Aberdeenshire preserved by the National Trust for Scotland, by art experts Bendor Grosvenor and Jacky Klein. Painted between 1505 and 1510, the painting of the Virgin Mary has long been attributed to lesser-regarded artist Innocenzo da Imola, but after cleaning and research has been elevated from “after Raphael” status to “probably by” Raphael.

The painting, and a previously unknown one attributed to French artist Claude Lorrain also found at Haddo House, are the subjects of the BBC television programLost Masterpieces.

Records indicate the artwork was valued in 1899 at $25, or about $2,551 in present-day prices. It was exhibited in the 19th century with other works by Raphael and accepted as genuine. Raphael paintings today are typically valued in the tens of millions of dollars.

Grosvenor said he was visiting the mansion to examine other paintings when he saw the work, in dim light.

“I thought, crikey, it looks like a Raphael. It was very dirty under old varnish, which goes yellow…I go round houses like this with binoculars and torches [flashlights]. If I hadn’t done that, I’d probably have walked past it. It is simply too good to be by Innocenzo,” Grosvenor said, adding, “All the evidence seems to point in the right direction. It would be Scotland’s only publicly owned Raphael.”

Further research showed important evidence suggesting it is a Raphael work.

The work was acquired in the 19th century by George Hamilton-Gordon, the Fourth Earl of Aberdeen and British prime minister.


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