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Experts from the San Fernando Royal Academy of Fine Arts Discover Rare Van Dyck
Art history expert Matias Diaz Padron (L), chats with the director of the San Fernando Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Madrid, Antonio Bonet (R), during the presentation of the previously unknown work by the 17th century Flemish Baroque artist Anthony van Dyck 'The Virgin and Child with Repentant Sinners' circa 1625 (background), which the museum discovered in one of its warehouses where the painting had been listed as a copy, in Madrid, Spain, 18 March 2011. EPA/CHEMA MOYA.

MADRID.- "The Virgin and Child with Repentant Sinners" was not a copy of Van Dyck and did not deserve to be in the basement of the San Fernando Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Madrid. This is a genuine Van Dyck from 1625, the institution took it out of storage today after many years.

The work was included in the 1964 inventory of the Academy as "an old copy of Van Dyck. "Once the painting was cleaned and restored, the authenticity of the work of art has been confirmed according to a press release from the institution released today.

The director of the Academy, Antonio Bonet Correa, appeared before the press to present the work with the teacher and researcher of History of Art and former curator of the Museo del Prado, Matías Díaz Padrón. The attribution to Van Dyck is "no longer in doubt”, said the Royal Academy.

"The Virgin and Child with Repentant Sinners" depicts the Virgin Mary with the baby Jesus in her arms watched by Mary Magdalene, King David and the Prodigal Son. The picture is an example of the Catholic emphasis placed on the sacrament of penance.

According to the Academy of San Fernando, "the high quality of his style and technique allows us to classify the work in the Italian period of Van Dyck. This, coupled with the proximity of the documents cited, leaves no doubt about his authorship."

The painting is part of the exhibition "Echoes of Van Dyck, " which opens in Murcia (Spain) from April 1 to May 8 and will be in Madrid from 16 May to 26 June

According to the press release, "the work was thought to be a copy of Van Dyck since the early nineteenth century. The presence of the painting at El Escorial had been forgotten, which was quoted by Velázquez in a report he made in 1656.

"Recently identified in the former collection of the Duke of Medina de las Torres, Viceroy of Naples until 1643, it is likely he acquired the painting after Van Dyck died, in 1641," says the report by the Academy of San Fernando.

In the middle of the 17th century it was transferred to the monastery of El Escorial outside Madrid, where it survived the pillaging of the Napoleonic invasion of 1808.

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