An ancient Rome mansion containing a ceiling painting by Caravaggio has been placed up for auction. The event made headlines in the Italian property market. The revelation that Villa Aurora is on sale for nearly half a billion euros has caused a stir in Italy’s art industry as well.
Since the 16th century, the illustrious Ludovisi family has owned the house near Via Veneto. The villa houses many Guercino frescoes. Moreover, the sole known ceiling painting by Caravaggio is here as well. Cardinal Del Monte, a diplomat and great patron of the arts, commissioned this wall painting. Very frequently, people wrongly call it a fresco.
You can see Jupiter, Neptune, and Pluto in the allegorical picture that reflects the cardinal’s interest in alchemy. When the auction starts in January, next year, these works by Caravaggio and Guercino will add considerably to the €471 million initial price.
Who will be the owner?
Whoever buys the 2,800-square-meter home, protected by Italian cultural heritage rules, would have to spend roughly €11 million on the repair. The great issue today is whether the Italian government will step in to buy the property, or whether it will go to an individual.
To stay tuned, read more news about the villa’s auction here.