A sprawling villa successful Rome containing the lone ceiling mural ever painted by the Italian maestro Caravaggio is being enactment up for merchantability for astir €500m (£422m).
The 2.75-metre wide mural features Jupiter, Neptune and Pluto was commissioned by Cardinal Francesco Maria Del Monte successful the 16th period to adorn the ceiling successful what was his alchemy laboratory astatine Casino di Villa Boncompagni Ludovisi, amended known arsenic Villa Aurora.
Villa Aurora, surrounded by precocious walls adjacent to via Veneto successful cardinal Rome, is each that remains of a retreat established by the cardinal.
“Del Monte bought spot there, which helium restructured earlier commissioning Caravaggio to overgarment the mural successful his lab, which was lone a precise tiny room,” said Alessandro Zuccari, a past prof astatine Rome’s Sapienza University who oversaw the valuation of the mural. “It’s an bonzer enactment which was hard to enactment a terms on, seeing arsenic it was the lone mural ever done by Caravaggio and truthful we had thing to comparison it to.”
Zuccari valued the mural, painted by Caravaggio erstwhile helium was successful his 20s, astatine nary little than €310m. The full spot volition spell connected auction connected 18 January with an opening bid of €471m.
The gathering besides contains rooms frescoed by the baroque creator Guercino, who was commissioned by the Ludovisi family, a noble household with adjacent ties to the papacy who bought the spot from Del Monte.
The merchantability of Villa Aurora comes aft a lengthy inheritance quality aft the decease of its owner, Prince Nicolò Boncompagni Ludovisi, successful 2018.
“The are different rooms decorated spectacularly but the astir important works are by Caravaggio and Guercino,” said Zuccheri. “It’s a spot that’s unsocial successful the world.”
The spot is filled with different antiques, though dozens of past statues are present hosted astatine the National Roman Museum aft being bought by the Italian state.
Owing to the tract being protected by the ministry of culture, erstwhile a bid has been agreed astatine auction, the authorities volition person the accidental to bargain the spot astatine the aforesaid price.
“The authorities volition person the close to bargain it, the occupation volition beryllium whether it tin wage specified a precocious price,” said Zuccheri.
Whoever buys the spot volition person to walk different €11m successful restoration costs.
Villa Aurora has been off-the-beaten way for astir tourists. Until 2019 it was lone imaginable to sojourn the villa and its gardens by pre-booking a backstage tour, held erstwhile a month.