London, May 8 (ANI): A young woman's portrait, trashed as a fake and lay in the basement of an Italian palace for 40 years, has been confirmed as a genuine Raphael by art experts and could be worth up to 25 million pounds.
The newly discovered 12 by 16 inch oil painting, which was lying in a storeroom beneath a palazzo in northern Italy since the 1970s, was long thought to have been a copy made in the style of the Renaissance master long after his death.
However, art historians now believe it to be a first draft by Raphael belonging to a larger painting, The Holy Family (or 'The Pearl'), which hangs in Madrid's Prado museum.
Mario Scalini, an art expert, had a hunch of its worth, mainly because of the quality of its frame.
"It struck me that it was mounted in an enormous, elaborately carved gilded frame of a very high value, which didn't seem to fit with something that was meant to be an unimportant copy. Clearly, whoever chose the frame knew who the real painter was and the true value of the work," The Telegraph quoted him as saying.
The expert had the painting analysed by experts at a research institute in Pisa, where Lisa Venerosi Pesciolini, one of Italy's most respected art restorers, said, "Underneath the layers, it was possible to see the original painting. This is an extremely important find."
It is thought the portrait was started by Raphael, but finished by one of his most prominent pupils, Giulio Romano, after Raphael's death in 1520.
Scalini estimated the painting's worth to be 30 million euros or more. (ANI)