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Last Updated: Wednesday, 8 December, 2004, 16:39 GMT
El Greco picture exceeds estimate
El Greco's The Baptism of Christ
The Baptism of Christ dates from between 1567-70
A rediscovered painting by Old Master El Greco has been sold at auction for 789,250.

The Baptism of Christ was bought by the Municipality of Crete, the birthplace of Domenikos Theotokopoulus, better known as El Greco.

The picture went under the hammer at Christie's in London.

The picture was found in an envelope by a Spanish family who had had it in their family sine the mid-19th Century but did not realise its importance.

The 16th Century oil-on-wood portable altarpiece was only rediscovered after its owner took it to Christie's to have it valued after seeing an advertisement for art evaluations.

'Important and beautiful'

"It was a fantastic event to witness the picture being sold to the Municipality of Crete, and we are particularly happy to know that the picture is going to such a fitting home," said Paul Raison, director and head of Old Master Pictures at Christie's.

Mayor of Heraklion, Yannis Kourakis, said: 'We are ecstatic that we have managed to raise the funds and acquire this painting.

"It is such an important and beautiful piece, especially to the people of Crete, and we are happy that the picture will now be displayed in the artist's birthplace."

The picture, which was dated between 1567-70, had been estimated to fetch 600,000 but easily topped that amount during the Old Masters Pictures sale.

Juan Sanchez Cotan's Still Life with Cardoon And Francolin reached a record auction price for the artist of 4.03m.

Review: El Greco
30 Jan 04 |  Arts


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