‘Sopranos’ Actor Discovered a Famous Baroque Painting Hiding in Plain Sight

Federico Castelluccio

Federico Castelluccio (Photo: SharpShooter/Depositphotos)

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.

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.

Guercino Painting

Photo: Guercino via Wikimedia Commons (Public domain)

h/t: [Artnet]

Related Articles:

10 Famous Baroque Artists Whose Awe-inspiring Art Still Inspires Us Today

Tracing the Turbulent Life of Baroque Painter Caravaggio

Learn About Peter Paul Rubens, the Influential Baroque Painter Who Pioneered the Style

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.
Become a
My Modern Met Member
As a member, you'll join us in our effort to support the arts.
Become a Member
Explore member benefits

Sponsored Content