Newly-discovered Artemisia work to go under hammer in Paris

Artemisia Gentileschi, 'Lucretia'

Paris auctioneers will next week sell a newly-discovered canvas by the female Italian 17th century painter Artemisia Gentileschi amid a surge of interest in her extraordinarily dramatic work.

Leading auctioneers Artcurial will on Wednesday auction the painting "Lucretia" by Artemisia with a base estimate of between 600,000-800,000 euros ($660,000-$880,000), it told AFP Friday.

The painting was only recently discovered in a private collection in the French city of Lyon where it had been stored unrecognised for some 40 years, it said.

The painting depicts Lucretia, the ancient Roman noblewoman who killed herself after being raped, showing her bare-breasted and about to plunge a dagger into her upper chest.

The work is "worthy of the great museums of the world" and "comes to us in an exceptional state of conservation", said prominent art expert Eric Turquin.

It is extremely rare for Artemisia works to come on the market and the painting is expected to go to a private buyer.

The current record for her work is the 2.8 million euros ($3.1 million) reached for a painting of Saint Catherine sold in Paris in 2017.

Artemisia, who lived from 1593-1654, is now after a period of obscurity recognised as one of the greatest painters of the post-Caravaggio era and one of the few to match the great Baroque master's sense of drama and light.

Her gender has also seen a surge of modern feminist interest in her work and life. She was raped by fellow painter Agostino Tassi and had to undergo excruciating cross-examination during his highly-publicised trial.

The painting of Lucretia shows a "desire to shock, force through a point and find the viewer which is Caravaggio-esque," said Turquin.

In a sign of Artemisia's growing prominence, the National Gallery in London will next year stage the first major exhibition of her work in Britain bringing together 35 works from around the world.