Moses Painting Estimated at $6,000, Sold for More Than $600,000

Moses Painting, Whose Estimated Value Was $6,000 Sold for More Than $600,000 on November 25, and Could Be the Work of Baroque Master Guercino.

Nov 30, 2022By Angela Davic, News, Discoveries, In-depth Reporting, and Analysis
Moses painting Guercino
Self-potrait by Guercino.


Moses painting could be the work of the Baroque master Guercino. Guercino’s real name is Giovanni Francesco Barbieri. Also, Guercino represents a nickname given to him because of an eye defect incurred when a child. Moses painting sold on November 25, at Chayette and Cheval in Paris.


Moses Painting and the Mystery Surrounding Its Creator

Moses painting
Painting sold at the auction house Chayette & Cheval on November 25th, 2022. Image courtesy of Chayette & Cheval.


Moses painting greatly outperformed its initial estimate of €5,000-6,000 ($5,175-6,200). It brought in a staggering €590,000 ($610,000) hammer price. Also, the painting represents dramatic depictions of the biblical character Moses. Moses has his palms up. Guido Reni took the credit for the painting. He was a 17th-century Bolognese School member.


But, the catalogue takes into consideration Guercino could also be the potential author of this piece. A replica of the piece by his student Benedetto Zalone, auctioned in 2001 at Franco Semenzato in Venice, was one of the reasons behind this. But, it failed to sell for its estimated value of 70,000,000-110,000,000 lira ($31,770 to $49,900).


Chayette and Cheval auction house estimated its value. It now appears likely that the unidentified buyer firmly believed Chayette and Cheval misdiagnosed and significantly devalued the work. Jorge Coll, CEO of Colnaghi Gallery, and his colleague Alice Da Costa linked the painting to the Baroque artist’s Elijah fed by Ravens.


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They are also sure Guercino did create the painting. “From what I can see in the photograph, the quality, and the condition is pretty good, so I understand the hammer price”, said Coll.


“This outcome is the product of our work” – Auctioneer Charlotte Van Gaver

Eos (Aurora), Goddess of the Dawn, by Guercino, 1691
Eos (Aurora), Goddess of the Dawn, by Guercino, 1691


The auctioneer chose not to respond to the attribution. However, auctioneer Charlotte van Gaver acknowledged the piece triggered a bidding war. He added the astounding outcome was “the product of our work”.


“It is undeniable that auction houses such as Chayette and Cheval guarantee “healthy” provenances and “stirs up” the market and international auctions,” she said. “We are happy this discovery leads to such a great result”.


circe restituisce forma umana ai compagni di odisseo
Circe restituisce forma umana ai compagni di Odisseo, by Guercino, 1591-1666, via Pinacoteca Civica Il Guercino, Cento, Italy


Federico Castelluccio, who played Tony Soprano on the Sopranos, owned a Guercino artwork, appraised at $10 million. A dealer bought another undervalued Guercino in 2012 from Doyle, New York, and may have gained millions when he sold it in 2020.


“This Bolognese period can be expensive, and Guercino is one of the top artists”, noted Coll. “This is top quality, and the fact that it’s a rediscovery excites people even more”. “In the Old Master world, we don’t have so many top quality paintings come on the market. When they do, you can see a desire for these paintings, so that’s very positive for us”.

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By Angela DavicNews, Discoveries, In-depth Reporting, and AnalysisAngela is a journalism student at the Faculty of Political Science in Belgrade and received a scholarship for continued education in Prague. She completed her internship at the daily newspaper DANAS and worked as an executive editor at Talas.