Villa with world only Caravaggio mural goes on sale

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A static villa in the heart of Rome, in which the only ceiling covering in the world by the Italian painter Caravaggio, will be auctioned off in January at a starting price of 471 million euros (547 million US $), a court in Rome has confirmed.

While most of the infrastructure was demolished in the 19th century, Villa Aurora is the only remaining part of the larger Villa Ludovisi, a house from the 16th century. the daily republica on Friday.

Barely a stone’s throw from Via Veneto, the iconic street designed by “La Dolce Vita” director Federico Fellini, Villa Aurora is flanked by a garden and several garages, covering a total of 2,800 square meters (just over half an acre). ), according to public sales documents published by the Ministry of Justice.

The six-story property contains a myriad of works of art, including an oil painting dedicated to Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio, better known simply as Caravaggio, whose body of work became synonymous with the artist’s visceral depictions of violence.

Spanning the ceiling of a small 2.75 square meter space (approximately 30 square meters), Caravaggio’s Villa Aurora mural represents three gods – Jupiter, Neptune and Pluto – as they gather around a translucent globe.

It was commissioned by Cardinal Francesco Maria Del Monte in 1597, who used the space as an alchemical laboratory, after the expertise of a tribunal, published by the ministry.

The painting has an estimated value of more than 310 million euros ($ 360 million), according to Alessandro Zuccari, a history of modern art professor at the Sapienza University of Rome.

Zuccari, who was called by the tribunal to appreciate the artwork in the real estate, concluded in his evaluation commissioned by the tribunal that Caravaggio’s painting is “priceless, the only mural by one of the greatest painters of modern times. Time. “

The villa is also by the Baroque painter Giovanni Francesco Barbieri, known as Guercino, who worked in the villa between 1621 and 1623, under Guercino’s works the fresco of Aurora, the Roman goddess of sunrise, painted for the nephew of . Pope Gregory XV., Alessandro Ludovisi.

Villa Aurora belongs to the family Boncompagni Ludovisi, the descendants of Pope Gregory XV. However, no details of the legal reasons underlining the auction sale have been released.

But the maintenance of the property will not be cheap. One of the conditions for who buys the property is to spend 11 million euros on restoration costs.

As a protected art space, the state will have the right to first refuse over the villa.

Auction company Fallco Zucchetti handles the sale.

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