A priceless work of art from the 17th century that was rediscovered in a farm shed and found to be in a neglected condition was sold for over $3 million (Rs 24 crore) at a recent Sotheby's sale. Anthony Van Dyck, a Belgian painter, created the painting of a naked elderly man seated on a stool. It was used as a figure study for his well-known work, "St. Jerome," as per a report in CNN. The painting is currently kept at the Museum Boijmans van Beuningen in Rotterdam.
It is one of just two sizeable studies Van Dyck created using real models. According to Sotheby's, it was most likely painted between 1615 and 1618.
The oil painting also comes from an unlikely place, as per a CNN. According to a statement sent to CNN by Sotheby's, the study was only recently recognised as a van Dyck creation and the artifact was found in a farm shed, reportedly covered with bird droppings, in Kinderhook, New York, in the late 20th century.
The auction house said, "The person who found it, Albert B. Roberts was a passionate collector of 'lost' pieces, describing his collection as 'an orphanage for lost art that had suffered from neglect."
According to the outlet, Sotheby's said that Mr Roberts paid merely $600 (approx Rs 49,000) for the abandoned painting. But soon after, art historian Susan J. Barnes wrote an essay and identified the object as a "surprisingly well preserved" Van Dyck creation. The artwork was sold for $3.1 million (approx Rs 3.1 crore) on January 26.
The auction house described the picture as showcasing Van Dyck's attempts to comprehend human anatomy and "convincingly render it in space." Sotheby's wrote in the description, "Van Dyck employed this male model on more than one occasion. He also rendered a double study of this figure's head, which served as the basis for several details in other history paintings."