Art | June 28, 2021 11:59 am

A Recently Discovered Rembrandt Painting Was Hiding in Plain Sight

What was believed to be a copy turned out to be the real thing, and worth up to $238.5 million

Dutch master painter Rembrandt van Rijn in his work "Self-Portrait with Beret and Turned-Up Collar"
A self-portrait of Rembrandt van Rijn.
Rembrandt van Rijn via National Gallery of Art

In 2016, a family in Rome sent a painting in to be restored after it fell and suffered minor damage. They believed the work, titled The Adoration of the Magi, to be a copy of a work by Rembrandt van Rijn. Five years later, they now have an answer as to the painting’s origins, and it turns out there was no copying involved. This painting is, in fact, the genuine article — one with an estimated value of between $83.5 million and $238.5 million.

Over at ARTnews, Shanti Escalante-De Mattei has the full details. The saga of the painting’s rediscovery involves a number of steps. Initially, art restorer Antonella Di Francesco found evidence that the painting might have been the genuine article; eventually, French Academy of the Villa Medici in Rome doubled down on that, confirming the painting’s status as a Rembrandt original.

The announcement came at a symposium titled Rembrandt: Identifying the Prototype, Seeing the Invisible. Curiously, this makes the third time since 2018 that a Rembrandt painting was brought to light. The Adoration of the Magi, completed between 1632–33, joins 1635’s Portrait of a Young Gentleman, which resurfaced in 2018, and 1630’s Head of a Bearded Man, which had been believed to be a fake for a time but was recently confirmed as genuine.

If the idea of adoring The Adoration of the Magi sounds appealing, you’re in luck — according to the article, the family that owns the painting plans to let museums and galleries borrow it in the coming years.