Lost Renaissance masterpiece found in woman’s kitchen could be worth $6.5 million

An Italian Renaissance masterpiece possibly worth as much as $6.5 million was close to being tossed out with the trash when an elderly French woman was preparing to move from her home in Compiègne in northern France this summer.

>> Read more trending news

The woman in her 90s, who wished to remain anonymous, was selling her home and contacted an auctioneer to look over the contents of her home to see if there was anything of value worth selling, according to news reports.

When the auctioneer walked into the home, she immediately noticed the painting "Christ Mocked" by 13th century master Cimabue hanging over a hotplate used for cooking, The Guardian reported.

"You rarely see something of such quality. I immediately thought it was a work of Italian primitivism. But I didn't imagine it was a Cimabue," Philomène Wolf told Le Parisien after spotting the work.

The woman and her family said the painting had been hanging in the same spot for so long, they couldn't remember where it came from. They said they assumed it was an old religious icon, according to news reports.

The Florence painter Cimabue, also known as Cenni di Pepo, is recognized as a pioneering artist from the early Italian Renaissance. There are only 11 known paintings on wood attributed to Cimabue and two of them hang in museums in London and New York.

The newest discovery is heading to the auction block in Senlis, France, on Oct. 27.

About the Author