Anonymous Painting Is by Caravaggio

'Copy' of Card Sharps turns out to be earlier version worth $100M
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 12, 2007 12:37 PM CST
Formerly anonymous, a perceived copy of "The Cardsharps" by Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio, has been discovered to be a proto-version of the work by the man himself.   (Public Domain)
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(Newser) – A British art historian who bought a misattributed painting at auction last year has demonstrated it is the work of Caravaggio. The Telegraph reports that Sotheby's sold what it thought was a copy of The Card Sharps, one of Caravaggio's most famous works that currently hangs at the Kimbell Museum in Fort Worth, for $100,000. But after a year's research, experts have concluded the work is an earlier version by the master himself.

X-rays of the sketching under the paint and paint samples have confirmed the connoisseur's suspicion that Caravaggio himself painted the work before the Kimbell's version. While the latter was commissioned by a cardinal and painted with more expensive pigments, the newly authenticated painting is of cheaper material, suggesting it was intended for public sale, AP reports. Estimates on its worth hover at around $100 million.