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Loft Caravaggio was sold shortly before the planned auction

Just before the planned auction of a painting on a wind, attributed to the Italian painter Caravaggio, a purchaser from abroad shot the image of other interested parties. This has already acquired the painting, which was discovered five years ago, said the French auction house Labarbe on Tuesday.

The buyer's identity and the price agreed to silence. The value of the artwork is estimated to be "100 to 150 million", said the auction house in Toulouse. In fact, it would be auctioned on Thursday to the highest bidder. But Labarbe had received an offer in advance "that we would not be able to transfer to the image owner", the statement says. "The fact that this offer comes from a collector near a large museum has convinced the seller to accept it."

The oil painting "Judith and Holofernes" was accidentally discovered in April 2014: after a water damage The owners of a house near Toulouse in southwestern France opened a loft in the attic – and found the image there.

An auction house commissioned renowned valuer Eric Turquin, who awarded the oil painting to the Italian baroque painter Caravaggio (1571-1610). "We cleaned the cloth for three weeks in January," Turquin reported. This and an X-ray examination showed that the image had been heavily edited. "It proves it's an original," Turquin said. "An impersonator makes no changes, he copies."

The oil painting dated 1600-1610 shows how the biblical hero Judith praises the Assyrian commander Holofernes. Besides Turquin, other experts now assume that the painting of the famous Caravaggio painter Michelangelo Merisi will come.

However, there are still doubts about its authenticity. Although the French Ministry of Culture called "very important" and originally refused to export the image, it did not use its right to first refusal.

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