A painting that was set to be auctioned off Thursday with bids starting at €1500 at a Madrid art auction house was pulled from the sale by government order; it's suspected it might be a lost masterpiece by Caravaggio, barred from export.
The painting, called 'Coronation with Thorns,' had been attributed to a student of Jose de Ribera, a 17th century Spanish painter who worked in Italy. As the work of a follower of a less-well-known painter, the price seemed in line, but if it turns out to be by Caravaggio, the price, if sold, would be orders of magnitude higher.
A previously unknown Caravaggio painting, 'Judith and Holofernes,' that was discovered in France in 2014 was sold to a private buyer for somewhere north of $170 million. In this case, the auction house told press that “As to who painted it, different experts are studying the work and right now we have no further information. The painting has been declared ‘not for export’ and will not be able to leave Spain.”