Secret image found inside $40M Botticelli painting

Secret image found inside M Botticelli painting



A hidden painting has been discovered within another. 

Legendary Italian artist Sandro Botticelli’s work “Man of Sorrows,” dated to approximately 1500, has been hidden from the public eye for hundreds of years — apparently with a secret of its own.

The painting has been in private hands since the 19th century, preventing it from being studied closely by experts. Now, the piece is set for auction at Sotheby’s on Jan. 27 with a guaranteed minimum price tag of $40 million.

And already, one pundit has found a secret within its strokes.

While spending some time with the work recently, Sotheby’s senior vice president and director of Old Master paintings Chris Apostle noticed something odd: What appeared to be the beginning of a composition of the Madonna cradling the baby Christ’s head to hers. When rotated upside down and looked at in infrared, details of this “Madonna of tenderness” are especially noticeable, CNN reported

An unknown aspect of a painting, a so-called “under-drawing” is not unheard of, Apostle said. At the time, the material he painted on, panel, would have been expensive.

“Panel was a valuable commodity in the Renaissance,” he said, so it makes sense that Botticelli wouldn’t want to toss the canvas just because he’d abandoned drawing the first motif he’d put on it. Instead, it appears, Botticelli simply turned the panel and created the current stunning creation on it. 

And while the parallel was likely not intentional, the painting’s dark meaning does support the notion that some works are perhaps meant to be abandoned.

“I feel that there is something about this picture that Botticelli is projecting, an understanding that we are all going to die — it has a profound emotional charge,” said Apostle of his interpretation of the work, which Botticelli would have painted near the end of his life.

“If he had represented Christ full on and rigid this would be more like an icon; a little bit more impenetrable.”



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Rachel Meadows

Rachel Meadows

Trending topics news writer who enjoys cooking, walking her dog and travel.

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