Damaged painting ‘seems more like a Nuzzi’


ROME — An Italian professor of medieval art has suggested that a controversial painting on display in Taipei had a style more typical of Mario Nuzzi than his 17th century Italian counterpart Paolo Porpora. When asked by CNA for her opinion on the painting of flowers in a vase, Stefania Macioce of Sapienza University of Rome said the work showed the influence of the Flemish painting style, representative of Nuzzi (1603-1673), rather than Porpora’s more Baroque touch.

The painting, identified at “The Face of Leonardo, Images of a Genius” exhibition as “Flowers” by Paolo Porpora (1617-1673), gained worldwide attention after a young boy tripped and accidently punched a hole in it on Sunday.

As the painting was being restored, questions about the painting’s origins were raised when a picture of it from a catalogue of Italian auction house Casa d’Aste Della Rocca showed it as the work of Nuzzi.

The Italian curator of the exhibition Andrea Rossi said the auction house had it wrong, but Macioce and a private collector in Napolis, Achille Della Ragione, are not so sure.

Both told CNA that it is not easy for the average art aficionado to tell the difference between the works of the two medieval artists, but people familiar with artistic styles and art history should be able to identify who actually painted “Flowers” after studying it. A passionate collector of 17th-century paintings by Naples artists and medieval still life paintings, Achille Della Ragione said that from a high-resolution photo of the painting “Flowers,” he could identify the brushwork and flower posture of Nuzzi’s paintings.

He also noted that Porpora was once a student of Nuzzi. The organizer of the Taipei exhibition, TST Art of Discovery Co., claimed after the painting was damaged that it was worth NT$50 million (approximately US$1.55 million).

The Italian auction house, on the other hand, estimated its value at between 25,000 and 30,000 euros during two auctions in 2012.