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Man Discovers a Lost 500-Year-Old Albrecht Dürer Engraving at a Flea Market

Many flea market shoppers share a similar fantasy—to happen upon a rare treasure that’s hiding in plain sight. A retired archaeologist recently lived this dream when he discovered a 500-year-old engraving by German artist Albrecht Dürer displayed among a collection of knickknacks in Sarrebourg, France. Recognizing the item’s preciousness, he bought it from an oblivious seller for just a few euros.

The piece is a copperplate engraving called Maria Crowned by an Angel, and it was originally produced during the Renaissance in 1520. After purchasing the print, the buyer noticed a stamp on the back signifying that it had once belonged to the Staatsgalerie art museum. He then decided to anonymously donate it to the institution, where it had been missing since the end of the second world war. “We are very grateful that, after more than 70 years, the work came to the hands of an art lover who did not keep his valuable find for themselves,” the museum’s director Christiane Lange said, “but returned it to the public instead.”

Despite being sold in a flea market, the artwork was still in very good condition—there’s speculation it was wrapped in paper during the intervening years. The museum intends to display the historic engraving but is exploring the right setting in which to present it.

via [Faith is Torment, The Guardian]

Sara Barnes

Sara Barnes is a Staff Editor at My Modern Met, Manager of My Modern Met Store, and co-host of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. As an illustrator and writer living in Seattle, she chronicles illustration, embroidery, and beyond through her blog Brown Paper Bag and Instagram @brwnpaperbag. She wrote a book about embroidery artist Sarah K. Benning titled 'Embroidered Life' that was published by Chronicle Books in 2019. Sara is a graduate of the Maryland Institute College of Art. She earned her BFA in Illustration in 2008 and MFA in Illustration Practice in 2013.
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