Portuguese state buys “lost” 15th century painting

A 15th century religious painting believed to have been lost has now surfaced and been purchased by the Portuguese state for €30,000.

According to Lusa news agency, the triptych oil entitled ‘Nossa Senhora com o Menino Jesus e dois anjos’ went under the hammer last week, with “many private companies and institutions bidding” for it.

It is thought to be the work of the Mestre de Santa Clara – whose famous polyptych (series of painted panels), painted in 1486, can be seen in Coimbra’s Machado de Castro museum.

Sebastião Pinto Ribeiro, administrator of Lisbon’s Palácio do Correio Velho where the auction was held, told Lusa that the starting price had been set at €5,000, but that the purchase was a “good deal” for Portugal’s heritage board (Direção-Geral do Património, or DGS).

It was not explained, however, how, when and where the painting had been thought “lost”.

The relic will now be transferred to the National Museum of Ancient Art in Lisbon, where Portugal’s other ‘treasure’ from the same period – the Panels of Saint Vincent – is also housed.