Italian painting once found on bus stop sells for record $22.3 million

A remarkable painting by Italian Renaissance master Titian, famously discovered in a plastic bag at a London bus stop, has fetched a staggering $22.3 million at auction, setting a new record for the artist.
“The Rest on the Flight into Egypt” was auctioned at Christie’s in London on Tuesday, exceeding its estimate of £15 million-£25 million ($19 million-$32 million), the auction house announced.
Describing the painting, Christie’s stated, “The painting depicts Jesus, Mary and Joseph resting on their way to Egypt after learning that Herod, King of Judea, wanted to kill the young Christ.”
Titian, also known as Tiziano Vecellio, created this work in the early 16th century, showcasing his early career brilliance in a compact size—measuring just 18.25 inches by 24.75 inches (46.2 centimeters x 62.9 centimeters).
The painting’s journey through history adds to its allure. It was looted by Napoleonic troops during the French occupation of Vienna in 1809, later returned, and has since traversed through various private collections. It eventually ended up in the possession of John Alexander Thynne, 4th Marquess of Bath, at Longleat in Wiltshire, England.
In a twist of fate, the painting was stolen from Longleat in 1995 and vanished for seven years until it was unexpectedly discovered at a London bus stop by art detective Charles Hill.
Orlando Rock, chairman of Christie’s UK, commented on the auction’s outcome: “This picture has captured the imaginations of audiences for more than half a millennia and will no doubt continue to do so. It’s a tribute to the impeccable provenance and quiet beauty of this sublime early masterpiece by Titian.”


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