$15k painting revealed as $18m Rembrandt masterpiece
In a truly extraordinary turn of events, an unassuming painting depicting the birth of Jesus has been unveiled as a monumental masterpiece by the renowned Dutch artist Rembrandt, with a jaw-dropping estimated value of $18 million. This remarkable discovery, according to Upworthy, concealed behind the work of another artist, is set to make its owners millionaires as it prepares for auction at the prestigious Sotheby’s.
Historically, discoveries related to Rembrandt have often revolved around his head portraits and character studies. However, this large portrayal of the Adoration of the Magi transcends the familiar, offering a unique window into the life and work of the celebrated artist. It is believed to date back to Rembrandt’s earliest professional days as a painter in Leiden, Netherlands, marking a vital chapter in his artistic journey.
The journey of this remarkable artwork began in 1985 when it was acquired and subsequently auctioned at Christie’s in Amsterdam in 2021. Initially thought to be from the “Rembrandt circle,” it was assumed to be the work of an apprentice or a contemporary artist. Astonishingly, it was acquired by the buyer for a significant $908,000 despite an initial estimated value of around $15,000.
Fast forward to the present, and the painting has re-emerged at Sotheby’s. A rigorous verification process, involving extensive scientific imaging techniques, uncovered a breathtaking revelation – the painting was not created by an apprentice but was the master’s own work, catapulting its value to a staggering $18 million.
George Gordon, co-chairman of Old Master Paintings Worldwide at Sotheby’s, emphasised the extraordinary importance of this discovery. He noted that it contributes significantly to our understanding of Rembrandt’s development at a crucial stage in his career when he was rapidly evolving as an artist.
Although this monochrome painting is less than 10 inches in height, its historical significance is immeasurable. Historical research reveals that it has surfaced in different centuries, attributed to Rembrandt van Rijk in the 18th and 19th centuries. Even in the 1950s, scholars recognized it as a work by Rembrandt. However, it mysteriously disappeared from collective memory, largely due to an art scholar who, based solely on a black and white photograph, excluded it from his critical art review catalogue, considering it a product of the “Rembrandt school.”