In August of last year, the office of Oxford Bonhams received a batch of 19th century paintings from the Buckingham Palace, made by Matthew Shepperson. The seller was one of his descendants who had recently inherited the works, and was hoping that he could sell the pieces for a few hundred dollars each. However, one of the paintings, a portrait of a gentleman dressed in a black robe and a white collar, was quickly spotted by experts as a work of significantly higher quality than the others.
When Andrew McKenzie, director of Bonhams`Old Master Paintings in London he examined the work, asked Oxford to withdraw the work from sale for a much closer examination. "There is a specific pattern on the cheek"Said the expert, adding that"has too good a pigment to belong to the same person”. “As soon as I saw it, I realized that it was not made with the same hand as the others”.
McKenzie called on consultant Brian Koester to help examine the portrait, and the two contacted Trinity College Dublin History Professor Peter Cherry, an expert on Velazquez, because they immediately assumed that it was a lost work of this famous artist.
With this suspicion, they contacted Carmen Garrido, Head of Technical Services of the Prado Museum in Madrid and a leading expert on Velázquez, as well as the author of the definitive work on this artist's technique, entitled “Velázquez: Technique and Evolution”. She also identified it as a work of the teacher himself.
In technical analysis and X-rays They ended up supporting his assumptions, more with the second, since Velázquez's portraits have a unique characteristic when they are passed through rays, and that is to show a ghostly appearance due to his painting technique. Researchers believe that he painted it between 1632 and 1635, after his first trip to Italy. The portrayed is unknown, but it is believed that it could be Juan Mateos, King's Hunt Master Felipe IV of Spain.
The descendant of Shepperson he expected to charge between $ 320 and $ 480 for this painting, and never imagined that now the auction office will launch the sale of "Portrait of a gentleman" by Diego Velazquez with an estimated sale price of between 3.2 and 4.8 million dollars10,000 times the original estimate. There are only 98 known Velázquez paintings in the world, of which four are in private hands. They do not go on sale at public auction very frequently, so there is no need to mention that the estimate will only be wind, since their final sale price will be much higher.
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