🎨😲 “300-Year Hide ‘n’ Seek: Rubens’ Lost Masterpiece Resurfaces – From Misunderstood Underdog to Sotheby’s Showstopper!” 💸🕵️‍♂️

Don’t you just hate it when you misplace something? Like your keys, or say, a multi-million-dollar painting by Sir Peter Paul Rubens? 🎨💔 After a whopping 300-year disappearance act, the latter has resurfaced, ready to dazzle at an upcoming Sotheby’s sale in London. Misidentified as a piece by French painter Laurent de la Hyre and sold for a measly $40,000 fifteen years ago, it’s now recognized as a Rubens original, estimated at $5 to $7.7 million.🔍💰 Like an art-world Indiana Jones, we’re diving into the tale of this painting’s epic journey!

Once upon a time, nestled in the revered Spinola family’s collection, sat a gorgeous painting – Rubens’ “Saint Sebastian Tended By Two Angels”. After taking an extended vacation from the limelight in the 1730s, the painting seemingly dropped off the edge of the Earth…only to pop up in Missouri in the 20th century. But how did it get there, and why was its artistic identity switched faster than a chameleon on a rainbow? 🌈🦎

A good old-fashioned art mystery, this tale has Sherlock Holmes vibes all over it! The art geniuses at Sotheby’s had to go all CSI on the painting, using X-rays to look beneath the surface 🕵️‍♀️🔬. This isn’t your average game of Guess Who? folks.

After playing detective, Sotheby’s team confirmed it was indeed a work by Rubens. But wait, there’s more! This wasn’t just any Rubens. This was the “prime” version of another significant piece by the artist. So not only had this Rubens been lost, it had also been living a double life! Who knew the art world was this juicy? 🍹🤯

The painting had last cozied up with the Spinola family, a clan of Rubens’ patrons, in the early 1730s. When it resurfaced at auction 15 years ago, it was sporting a French disguise as a piece by Laurent de la Hyre. Sold for a modest $40,000, it was a bargain compared to its current estimate! 😳💵

This tale takes us back to the early 17th century, when the artwork was likely commissioned by Ambrogio Spinola, a fan of Rubens. The first record of the painting comes from 1655, nestled in the will of Ambrogio’s son, Filippo Spinola. Talk about a family heirloom! 📜🖌️

Fast-forward to the 1730s, the painting passed down to Ambrogio’s granddaughter Anna, then went AWOL until 1963. To top off the masquerade, the artwork was acquired by its current owner in 2008 as a Laurent de la Hyre painting. Talk about a 230-year game of hide-and-seek! 🗺️🎭

And just when you think the plot can’t thicken any more, X-ray analysis revealed this Rubens was the blueprint for another painting by the same artist, currently residing in the Galleria Corsini in Rome. The discovery underscores the fact that even great artists’ names can be lost to history 🤷‍♂️🎨.

So now, the stage