In a remarkable twist, a French museum has managed to trace a missing painting to none other than the Queen of Pop herself, Madonna. According to rumors, Madonna paid $1.3 million for the Jérôme-Martin Langlois painting in 1989 at a New York auction.
Louis the XVIII ordered the picture, presumed to be by Jerome-Martin Langlois, to hang in Versace. It was completed in 1822 and loaned by the Louvre Museum to the Amiens Fine Art Museum in northern France. However, the painting was declared missing after the bombing of Amiens during World War I.
It wasn’t until recently, when an art conservator spotted the monumental work in a photo taken in Madonna’s home and published in French magazine Paris Match, that the museum made the connection. After further investigation, the museum determined that the painting in the photo was likely the same one that had gone missing more than a century before.
The painting that resembled the one that was lost is said to have been purchased by Madonna for $1.3 million at an auction in 1989. A conservator of fine art later discovered the enormous piece in a photograph of Madonna's home that was featured in the French magazine Paris Match. The mayor of Amiens in northern France has released a video “requesting” that Madonna “loan” the city the painting, which represents a mythological scene of the bare-breasted goddess Diana approaching the shepherd Endymion.
The Louvre Museum has stated that Madonna’s version of the painting lacks the artist’s signature, the date of the work and his stamp, and is around 3 centimetres (one inch) smaller than the original, making it “not very likely” that it’s the same work. Nevertheless, it’s the only evidence of the work that was lost, and the mayor of Amiens has asked the singer for a “loan” to exhibit it in 2028, when Amiens hopes to be the year’s European Capital of Culture.
The story of the missing painting is an interesting one, and raises a number of questions. How did the painting go from Versace to Madonna’s possession? How did the art conservator spot the painting in the photo? And if the painting is indeed a copy, who made the copy and where is the original?
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