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Rare Rubens painting expected to fetch up to $35 million at auction after being missing for centuries

According to claims in the media, a very rare painting by Flemish Baroque artist Sir Peter Paul Rubens will be auctioned off in January. The picture shows a crucial portion of a frequently presented Biblical story.

On their website, Sotheby’s auction house refers to it as ‘Salome Presented With the Severed Head of Saint John the Baptist.’ It is thought to date from 1609 and is expected to sell for between $25 and $35 million.

The history of the picture is kind of fascinating. Before it was discovered again in 1987, it was thought to have been lost for two centuries.  After being sold in 1998 for $5.5 million, it was also put on display for a short while at London’s National Gallery of Art in the early 2000s.

From 1666 to 1700, it was catalogued as a possession of the royal family in 17th-century Spain. After being sold in Paris in 1768, it vanished for more than 200 years before being rediscovered in 1987 by a French family. The artwork was attributed by the family to a pupil of Ruben.

Ruben is remembered as one of the greatest painters of the Baroque period (17th and 18th centuries movement that followed Renaissance and Mannerism periods). Art of the time was characterised by dramatic settings, vibrant, rich colours, and contrasting shadows, and more frequently than not, it captured the pinnacle of the event.


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