No bidders for a villa in Rome with the world’s only Caravaggio mural

ROME: An online auction for a villa in central Rome, which has the only known ceiling mural by Italian Baroque artist Caravaggio, attracted no bidders on Tuesday, meaning it will now be offered at a reduced price.

The property has come on the market following drawn-out estate litigation and was initially valued by court-appointed appraisers at 471 million euros (US$533 million), making it potentially the one of the most expensive houses in the world.

The minimum auction price was set at €353.25 million, but there were no takers and the sale was declared void by a legal auction website www.fallcoaste.it.

The villa will go on sale again on April 7, with the price set to be reduced by around 20%, Italian media reported.

Under Italian law, properties that do not find buyers at judicial auctions can be relisted for a discount of up to 25%. There was no immediate comment from the Rome court’s auction authority.

Caravaggio was commissioned to paint the ceiling of a small room on the first floor in 1597. The 2.75 meter wide fresco was painted in oil directly on plaster and depicts an allegorical scene with the gods Jupiter, Neptune and Pluto representing the transformation of lead into gold.

Caravaggio painted his own face and body on each of the three figurines. The mural alone is valued at 310 million euros.

The fortified villa is what remains of a 16th century country house established by Cardinal Francesco Maria Del Monte and sold to its current owners, the noble Ludovisi family, in the early 1600s.

Following the death of Prince Nicolo Boncompagni Ludovisi in 2018, the property became the target of litigation between Ludovisi’s children from his first marriage and his third wife, Princess Rita Boncompagni Ludovisi, who was born and raised in Texas. but lived in the villa. for 18 years.

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