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Topical Tuesdays from The Week Junior – Found Painting Sells for £20m


This week's resource is based on a recent story of a 13th-century painting that fetched £20 million at auction.

It was found in the home of an elderly woman living in Compiègne, France, who was preparing to move.

She called an expert in to see if there was anything of value in the house, else it was all to be thrown away.

As it so happened, this small painting – measuring 20 x 26cm – is called The Mocking of Christ and was painted by Italian artist Cimabue around 1280.

It is one of the panels of a polyptych, and other panels are on display in galleries in New York and London.

The woman has no idea where the painting came from, but either way it still made £20m at auction, making it the most expensive medieval painting ever.

  • Hold a debate on the public's right to see famous artworks. What happens when private owners pay for such pieces, rather than galleries getting them?
  • Imagine something that you've drawn or painted sells for auction like this painting did. Write a short, humorous tale about it
  • Write an account of a time you've been to a museum. What did you find interesting? Why?
  • See if you can find out the top five most expensive paintings of all time. Who painted them? What are they called? What do they depict? And how much did they sell for?

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