Treasure in the attic
This is one of those outlandish tales that come up from time to time in the art world. In 2014, a Toulouse family needed access to their roof to fix a leak. Once up there they found a small canvas that depicted Judith beheading Holophernes, hidden away in the eaves. Since then, several experts have authenticated this work as having been created by the famous Italian painter Caravaggio, the grand master of the XVII Century.
The existence of this painting was known only in stories and it was thought to have disappeared around 1619. It was in Naples that Caravaggio created this work: in 1607 he left Rome, fleeing the city because of a dreadful assassination. During his stay there he painted « Judith and Holophernes », a Biblical tale taken from his beloved Old Testament. Whilst it is hard to explain how this work went from Naples to Toulouse, it is easier to understand why France has designated it a « National Treasure » so that, until now, it has been barred from being taken out of the country.