Unknown Velazquez painting surfaces at Yale-expert claims

Mon Jul 5, 2010 9:56am EDT
 
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By Alice Tozer

MADRID (Reuters Life!) - A U.S. expert on European art says he has discovered a painting by Spanish 17th century master Diego Velazquez languishing in a back room of Yale University art gallery.

If it receives authentication by Madrid's Museo del Prado, which houses nearly 50 paintings by the Sevillian artist including the Las Meninas, the new find could be worth more than 8 million pounds ($12 million).

The large painting, The Education of the Virgin Mary, portrays St. Anne teaching the Virgin Mary to read and is in poor shape, with paint peeled off and even pieces of the canvas trimmed away.

"I looked at it and had a nagging feeling I knew who it was by. I put it away again until one day it clicked. It had to be an early Velazquez," John Marciari, curator of European art at the San Diego Museum of Art in California, told Reuters by telephone.

Marciari, formerly gallery director at Yale, published the results of his investigation in an article in this month's Ars Magazine, an art collecting publication based in Madrid.

The next step will be to exhibit the painting alongside other works for the scrutiny of art scholars worldwide.

Experts at the National Gallery in London and Madrid's the Prado museum have yet to form an opinion.

"It is interesting news but we cannot comment until we have seen the painting ourselves,' said a spokesman for the Prado.   Continued...