Michelangelo painting found in Jesuit residence

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Thursday 28, July 2011 | Category:  

When a Jesuit residence at Oxford University bought a painting of the Crucifixion in the 1930s at a Sotheby’s auction, they thought they were getting a work by the 16th-century Italian artist Marcello Venusti. It turns out the painting is by one of Venusti’s somewhat more well-known contemporaries, Michelangelo.

After more than 70 years of quietly hanging on the wall of Campion Hall, infrared technology has revealed the painting’s real creator, says historian and conservationist Antonio Forcellino. “You can immediately see the difference between this work and that of Venusti,” said Forcellino. “No one but Michelangelo could have painted such a masterpiece,” he writes in his new book, The Lost Michelangelos.

The painting has been sent to Oxford’s Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology. “It’s a very beautiful piece, but far too valuable to have on our wall anymore,” said Jesuit Father Brendan Callaghan, the community’s superior. “Simply having it hanging on our wall wasn’t a good idea.”

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