French researcher 'finds' long-lost Ingres canvas

15th December 2004, Comments 0 comments

LILLE, Dec 14 (AFP) - A French art historian claims to have found a long-lost masterpiece of the 19th century painter Jean-August-Dominique Ingres, which she believes is hidden beneath a forged work on display at the Capodimonte museum in Naples.

LILLE, Dec 14 (AFP) - A French art historian claims to have found a long-lost masterpiece of the 19th century painter Jean-August-Dominique Ingres, which she believes is hidden beneath a forged work on display at the Capodimonte museum in Naples.

Veronique Burnod, curator at the Cambrai arts museum in northern France, has asked for infrared images to confirm her thesis, but has so far been refused.

"La Dormeuse de Naples" - The sleeping woman of Naples - was commissioned by Joachim Murat, the adventurer and protege of Napoleon who was king of Naples from 1808. It disappeared in 1815 at Napoleon's downfall and Murat's death.

According to Burnod, who says she made her discovery on a visit to Naples this year, the picture was then painted over by an unknown artist who attributed his forged work to the 17th century Italian Luca Giordano.

"La Dormeuse de Naples" was a sister-work of Ingres' most famous painting "La Grande Odalisque" which is valued at up to EUR 100 million (USD 133 million) and is the fourth most visited picture in the Louvre museum in Paris.

Both portray a naked woman reclining on a sofa. According to Burnod, the curve of the woman's hip is clearly visible in the line of a curtain on the faked picture in Naples.

"This is a prodigious discovery. For us it is like Tutankhamen," she said.

The mystery of "La Dormeuse de Naples" was the subject earlier this year of a prize-winning book by French writer Adrien Goetz, who described it as "one of the most legendary pictures in the history of painting."

 

© AFP

Subject: French News

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