After a long and circuitous journey, the Louvre has acquired Christ Mocked, a 13th-century work by the Florentine painter Cimabue. The 10- by 8-inch painting, now deemed a French “national treasure,” hung unnoticed for years above a hot plate in a 90-year-old French woman’s kitchen before experts identified it.
Dating to around 1280, the painting depicts Jesus before the crucifixion. According to CNN’s Jack Guy, the owner, who was in her 90s, didn’t remember where the piece had come from and assumed it was a Greek religious icon.
Four years ago, when she began clearing out her home ahead of a move, she intended to throw out the painting, unaware of its true value, per the Guardian’s Kim Willsher. Luckily, her family called in an expert to appraise items on the property. The unusual depiction of Christ caught the eye of the expert, who assumed it could be worth hundreds of thousands.
Cimabue, born in Florence around 1240, is the pseudonym of the artist Cenni di Pepo. Many art historians think he was the teacher of the celebrated artist Giotto. Only about 15 known works by Cimabue exist today, making Christ Mocked an incredibly rare find. The painting is part of a diptych, which included eight scenes depicting the crucifixion and passion of Christ. Only two other works from the diptych are currently accounted for.