Unearthed: Van Dyck Masterpiece In Jaen Family Home

Precious Art Find In Jaen Home

Stock Image Of Sevilla Art Gallery. Credit: museodeballasartes desevillafacebook.com

A family from Jaen recently discovered that a painting that had been in their house for years was in fact a masterpiece.

For several generations, a family in Jaen unknowingly housed a genuine masterpiece by Anton Van Dyck, arguably the second most significant Flemish painter after Rubens, in their living room.

The painting, titled ‘The Presentation of the Child Jesus to Santa Barbara’, had always adorned a prominent spot in their home. It wasn’t until last year that an art expert confirmed its authenticity, much to the family’s astonishment, writes Nuis Diario.

A Daily Fixture Becomes A Historic Find

‘The family was never aware of the value of the painting in front of them, they saw it as something routine that was part of everyday life,’ Luis Baena, the family’s solicitor, told EFE. The artwork is believed to have arrived in Jaen via Sevilla in the 17th century, a time when over a hundred Flemish families, primarily traders and bankers, settled in the Andalusian city.

Preservation And Future Of The Artwork

After its authenticity was verified, the canvas, showing clear signs of wear from the early 17th century, underwent restoration by esteemed Andalucian experts. The family has since been approached by major international auction houses, including Sotheby’s.

However, their primary wish is for the painting to be housed in the Museum of Fine Arts of Sevilla. Given Van Dyck’s pivotal role in shaping the Sevillian baroque and his influence on 17th-century painters, the family feels the artwork would be a valuable addition to the museum’s collection.

‘They have no intention of speculating with the painting, but they do have a special interest in it staying in Sevilla, the city where some family members reside and with which they share a deep bond,’ Baena remarked. While preliminary discussions with the Museum of Fine Arts of Seville have commenced, the painting’s official valuation remains pending. ‘Its value will be a fair and reasonable price,’ the solicitor anticipates.

Van Dyck’s Place In The Art World

Anton Van Dyck, born in Antwerp in 1599 and passing away in Blackfriars, London, in 1641, stood as the foremost Flemish painter after Rubens during the first half of the 17th century. By the 18th century, many regarded him as Rubens’ equal. After an extended period in Italy, he became England’s premier court painter.

He’s globally renowned for his portraits of the Genoese elite and Charles I, the king of England and Scotland, as well as his family and courtiers. Beyond portraiture, Van Dyck also explored biblical and mythological subjects, introducing significant artistic innovations.

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Written by

John Ensor

Originally from Doncaster, Yorkshire, John now lives in Galicia, Northern Spain with his wife Nina. He is passionate about news, music, cycling and animals. When he's not writing for EWN he enjoys gigging in a acoustic duo, looking after their four dogs, four chickens, two cats, and cycling up mountains very slowly.

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