Roman villa with Caravaggio mural draws no bids - RTHK
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Roman villa with Caravaggio mural draws no bids

2022-01-19 HKT 02:25
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  • Roman villa with Caravaggio mural draws no bids
A Roman villa housing the only mural by Caravaggio failed to find a bidder in an auction on Tuesday sparked by a dispute between its heirs.

The sprawling Casino dell'Aurora will be put up for sale again in April, with the base price of US$534 million lowered by about 20 percent, according to the notary involved in the sale.

"Nobody took part in the auction," Camillo Verde told AFP, saying the next sale would take place on April 7.

The residence of the noble Ludovisi Boncompagni family for hundreds of years, the 2,800-square-metre Casino dell'Aurora is located in central Rome between the Via Veneto and the Spanish Steps.

The auction was ordered by a Rome court following a dispute among the heirs of Prince Nicolo Ludovisi Boncompagni, the head of the family who died in 2018.

The dispute is between the prince's third and final wife, Rita Jenrette Boncompagni Ludovisi, a 72-year-old American former real estate broker and actor who once posed for Playboy, and the children from his first marriage.

The building is a Baroque jewel with gorgeous gardens and a valuable art collection that also includes frescoes by Guercino.

Almost 35,000 people had called on the Italian government to exercise "its pre-emptive right" to buy the building and the Caravaggio, which alone is valued at US$396.36 million, according to a petition on Change.org.

The oil mural by Caravaggio, whose real name was Michelangelo Merisi, dates to 1597 and is located on the ceiling in a corridor on the first floor of the palace.

It depicts Jupiter, Pluto and Neptune with the world at the centre, marked by signs of the zodiac. (AFP)