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Rome Reports

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An Italian painting lost since the 17th century found at an auction in USA

Better late than never. That's what art historians thought when they learned that "Il Cristo portacroce" painted by Giorgio Vasari in 1553 unexpectedly appeared at an auction in the United States. It was missing since the 17th century.

The current owner, an anonymous American, has loaned the work to the Corsini Gallery in Rome until June 30. 400 later years, after being restored in a workshop in Florence, it returned to Rome. This painting was commissioned by one of Rome's richest 16th century bankers and art collectors, Bindo Altoviti. 

Handler of “Il Cristo portacroce”

"He was the most important banker and art buyer in Rome in the 16th century".

"He was a person of the highest caliber. He hosted Vasari in his house, while he painted the 'Il Cristo portacroce' and the decorations of his villa." FLASH 00:38 "This famous painting was considered lost until last year when it appeared in Hartford at an American auction."

Altoviti loved art so much that he was even painted by the great Raphael. Also, Michelangelo himself gave him a sketch copy of the Sistine Chapel. 

After Altoviti's death, the painting passed from hand-to-hand until historians lost track of it.

Handler of “Il Cristo portacroce”

"The last known information about this painting dates back to the 17th century. It was transferred to the collection of the Savoy family, since a large part of Bindo Altoviti's collection passed into the hands of this family. From there it probably reached France in the middle of the 17th century. From that moment on, nothing else was known about the painting". "What happened from then until now? For the time being, no clues have been retrieved about its adventures."

In 1553 Giorgio Vasari wrote, in his book of memoirs, that he was commissioned by one of the richest people in Rome to make this painting. What he would never have imagined was that his work would appear, 400 years later, on the other side of the Atlantic. Also, thanks to a generous buyer, that it would be exhibited in a famous gallery in the Eternal City, where it all began.