Stolen Renaissance Artwork Found at Bus Stop Expected to Reach $32 Million in Auction

Stolen Renaissance Artwork Found at Bus Stop Expected to Reach $32 Million in Auction

At an art auction in London next month, a Renaissance picture that was once taken from a southwest England nobleman’s home and discovered at a bus stop could fetch $32 million.

Christie’s, an auction firm, states that Tiziano Vecellio’s early masterwork, “The Rest on the Flight Into Egypt,” has been owned by numerous homes since it was painted, most likely in the first decade of the 16th century.

In the artwork, Joseph, Mary, and the infant Jesus are shown sleeping on their journey to Egypt, where they will seek refuge from King Herod, whom Joseph had a dream that would kill Jesus.

The Christie’s website describes the artwork as follows: Her feet planted firmly on the ground, the Madonna wraps Jesus in a protective embrace at the centre of the canvas. The pair are shown in suspended animation, in an intimate moment of tenderness between mother and son. The latter, somewhat fidgety, leans into his mother, tugging at her hair.”

Titian, whose real name is Vecellio, is said to have painted the masterpiece in Venice when he was about 20 years old. According to Christie’s, it was originally recorded in the possession of a Venetian spice merchant from the 17th century.

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In 1638, James Hamilton, an English lord, purchased it and had it shipped to London.

After being purchased by Austria’s Archduke Leopold Wilhelm, the Titian piece was transported to Vienna and allegedly seized by Napoleonic soldiers in 1809 when the city was under French administration.


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