TRAPANI, SICILY.- A recently discovered Caravaggio that is an earlier version of The Card Sharps has just gone on display in Trapani. The work was purchased by Sir Denis Mahon, 97, member of the Guinness Mahon banking dynasty. He purchased the work for £50,400 at an auction at Sotheby's last December. During the sale the painting was described as the work of an anonymous "follower of Caravaggio". Sir Denis Mahon authenticated the work as a Caravaggio and dated it to 1595. He has authenticated three other Caravaggios.
According to Sir Denis Mahon, the painting is a predecessor of The Card Sharps that is located at the Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth, Texas. The recently discovered work is brighter and has more empty space around the characters. The work will be lent to the Ashmolean museum in Oxford in March, after the exhibition in Trapani ends.