Have you ever dreamed of discovering something rare and beautiful at an antiques fair?
This is what happened in October when an art expert discovered a precious 15th century fresco cycle showing the 14 virtues while visiting a Rome antiques fair.
(click on images to enlarge)
Painted by an unknown artist between 1470-80, the frescoes had been removed from Palazzo Spreca in Viterbo and put on the antiques marketplace.
Prof. Enzo Bentivoglio of Reggio Calabria university, told of how he had recognized the paintings immediately.
“As a child I often visited Palazzo Spreca with my grandmother for in the convent there the nuns did embroidery work.”
“ I remember being very impressed with the frescoes on the walls showing women and animals”.
Recently Prof. Bentivoglio saw these frescoes in a very different context: four of them were being exhibited (and for sale at an undisclosed price) at the stand of an Umbrian antiques dealer during the biannual Antiques show held in Rome’s Palazzo Venezia.
You can still see them on the dealer’s website. They had also been in a similar antiques fair in Modena back in 2011.
Thanks to a denunciation made by the Professor to the police, the precious works were blocked from being sold and later returned to the City of Viterbo where they are presently being exhibited in the City Hall until January 7th.
What happens to them after this date must still be decided: will they be returned to the original owner or placed in one of the city’s museums?
I recently had the privilege of speaking with Chief Inspector (Ispettore Capo) Felice Orlandini of the Palazzo di Giustizia of Viterbo Province who followed the entire investigation taking on himself the responsibility and executing on-site visits, searching through and photographing the building and finally finding the room from which the frescoes were taken.
Since the investigation is on-going, he could not give me any particulars that I can publish, (yet), but it seems to be another case of avidity and irresponsibility …which so often happens in the world of antiques, especially in the provinces like Viterbo.
More antiques and vintage on my ETSY shop “Vintage and Books” Vintage and Books
Visit it now by clicking on the link.