Rediscovered Guercino Masterpiece Worth Millions Goes on View

Guercino Portrait of St. Sebastian (circa 1630). Courtesy of the Federico Castelluccio Collection.
Guercino Portrait of St. Sebastian (circa 1630). Courtesy of the Federico Castelluccio Collection.

Actor Federico Castelluccio, famous for portraying the mafia hitman Furio Giunta on the HBO hit show The Sopranos, became the owner of a long-lost Guercino painting painted in the 1630s.

Castelluccio and an unidentified co-investor bought the Italian old master painting depicting a bloody and dying St. Sebastian at an auction in Germany five years ago for $70,000. The auction house listed the painting as an “anonymous 18th-century work.”

In 2014, the artwork was authenticated by a panel of experts including Professor David Stone from the University of Delaware and Nicholas Turner, an independent art historian. The work’s value has been estimated at up to $10 million.

The painting went on view at the Princeton University Art Museum last week, making it the first time the artwork has been exhibited in America.

Castelluccio (right) on The Sopranos Photo: bluarcher.com

Castelluccio (right) on The Sopranos
Photo: bluarcher.com

The painting’s storied provenance includes previous owners such as the German countess Maria von Maltzan, who was part of the Nazi resistance movement during World War II, hiding Jews and other political enemies from the totalitarian regime.

Castelluccio told the New York Times that he was amused by the irony of being the owner of a famous painting of a martyr, having portrayed a hired gun on a TV show.

He added that he is very happy that his celebrity is attracting attention to one of his favorite artists. “All of a sudden, this strange name Guercino is coming up in people’s consciousness,” he said.

The painting is currently on view at the Princeton University Art Museum Photo: Andreas Praefcke via Wikimedia Commons

The painting is currently on view at the Princeton University Art Museum
Photo: Andreas Praefcke via Wikimedia Commons

Castelluccio also revealed to the NYT that he and his co-owner would be prepared to sell the portrait at a later date, although they would prioritize a sale to a public institution over a private buyer.


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