Actor Federico Castelluccio, known for his role as Sicilian hitman Furio in The Sopranos, discovered a lost painting hiding in plain sight. The painter and art collector now owns a work by the 17th-century Italian Baroque artist Giovanni Francesco Barbieri—although he wasn’t completely sure when he bought it for about $68,000 at auction. Castelluccio had a hunch, however, that it was indeed by the famed artist. He was right. After having it authenticated, the piece is estimated to be worth millions.
Giovanni Francesco Barbieri, better known as Guercino (meaning “squinter”), created works with “lively” naturalistic figures in a chiaroscuro light. But when Castelluccio came upon it at a Frankfurt gallery, the painting had been mistakenly identified as an “18th-century Italian holy painting of Saint Sebastian.” Castelluccio, who calls himself a connoisseur of Guercino’s work, kept his suspensions to himself. “I never said a word to the auction house or the person that was dealing with me,” he recalls.
Castelluccio, who is also an expert in Baroque European art, spent three or four years researching the piece. He had it certified by multiple experts in the field, and they used x-ray and chemical pigment testing to date the work’s creation from 1632 to 1634. In addition to finding the painting’s true identity, he had it restored to its original beauty. It’s shown in museum galleries with the right attribution.
Actor Federico Castelluccio, known for his role as Sicilian hitman Furio in The Sopranos, is an artist and art collector.
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He is a connoisseur of the 17th-century Italian Baroque artist Guercino, and he discovered this painting at a gallery in Germany that was mistakenly attributed as something else. After purchasing it and having it authenticated, it was revealed that it is a true Guercino.