A LOST masterpiece by Spanish artist Diego Velazquez has sold for a staggering 3.5 million euros at auction… almost 10,000 times its original estimate.
The previously unknown portrait had originally been valued at just 300 euros after being wrongly attributed to little known British artist Matthew Shepperson.
The work only came to light in August 2010 when a collection of Shepperson paintings was sent to auctioneers Bonhams to assess.
It was only then that the Old Master Paintings department singled out the masterpiece Portrait of a Gentleman as actually being by Velazquez, who was the court painter to the Spanish royals in the 17th century.
Art professor Peter Cherry insisted that the painting was the work of Velazquez and dated it from 1631-1634.
A later X-ray confirmed his belief.
“The style and technical brilliance of the representation itself betrays its author,” explained Cherry.
The painting, thought to be of the master of the Spanish King’s Hunt, was bought by a mystery purchasor at auction at Bonhams.
“This is a portrait of outstanding quality. To have worked so closely with it has been a highlight of my career,” said Andrew Mckenzie, Bonham’s Director of Old Master Paintings.