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Secret image discovered in the $40M Botticelli painting

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An inner painting has been found to contain a hidden painting. 

Legendary Italian artist Sandro Botticelli’s work “Man of Sorrows,” dated to approximately 1500, has been hidden from the public eye for hundreds of years — apparently with a secret of its own.

The painting has been kept in private hands since the 19th Century, which prevented experts from studying it closely. Now, the piece is set for auction at Sotheby’s on Jan. 27 with a guaranteed minimum price tag of $40 million.

Already, one pundit has discovered a secret within his strokes.

While spending some time with the work recently, Sotheby’s senior vice president and director of Old Master paintings Chris Apostle noticed something odd: What appeared to be the beginning of a composition of the Madonna cradling the baby Christ’s head to hers. Details of this composition can be seen in infrared when it is turned upside down. “Madonna of tenderness”CNN reported that they were particularly noticeable. 

A so-called “unknown aspect” of a painting. “under-drawing”Apostle said that this is not unusual. Panel, the material he used to paint, was very expensive at the time.

“Panel was a valuable commodity in the Renaissance,” he said, so it makes sense that Botticelli wouldn’t want to toss the canvas just because he’d abandoned drawing the first motif he’d put on it. Botticelli, it seems, simply turned the panel to create the amazing creation that is on it. 

And while the parallel was likely not intentional, the painting’s dark meaning does support the notion that some works are perhaps meant to be abandoned.

“I feel that there is something about this picture that Botticelli is projecting, an understanding that we are all going to die — it has a profound emotional charge,”Apostle spoke out about his interpretation of the work that Botticelli would have done near the end his life.

“If he had represented Christ full on and rigid this would be more like an icon; a little bit more impenetrable.”

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