El Greco painting found in Spain

Oct. 21, 2004 at 7:27 PM

MADRID, Oct. 21 (UPI) -- A chance visit to an auction valuation place helped a family in Spain discover it was holding a small 16th Century El Greco painting worth about $1 million.

The family had owned the 9 inches by 7 inches oil-on-wood portable altarpiece, The Baptism of Christ, since the mid-19th Century.

The painting had been kept in an envelope and the family had not known what it possessed, the BBC reported.

The Christie's valuation center said the painting was a "wonderful, vibrant work" and came as a "complete surprise". It will be sold Dec. 8 by Christie's in London.

El Greco, born in Crete, had a unique style which inspired painters like Cezanne, Picasso and Jackson Pollock.

The Baptism of Christ measures 23.7cm by 18cm and was found when a man living in a small apartment in western Spain responded to an advertisement offering art valuations, Christie's said.

The auction house said the painting dates from El Greco's time in Venice, from 1567-70, and is an extremely rare example of his work from that period.

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