Raphael Copy Discovered in Apartment!

My cousin just sent me this post, and I’m so excited/jealous about the news that I have to post right away. The story sounds like a dream-come-true: an Italian couple decided to remodel their apartment and found a 16th century fresco behind their plastered wall! Although Tarcisio and Teresa de Paolis found the fresco in the 1970s, they only recently decided to announce their find to the public (it appears they were worried that they would lose their home because of this discovery).

The fresco appears to be by Ugo da Scarpi – it is a miniaturized copy of frescoes from Raphael’s “Room of Heliodorus” (1512-1514; located in the Vatican – you can take a virtual tour of the room here). The detail on the right is from Raphael’s fresco The Mass at Bolsena; you can compare this detail with the da Scarpi copy (located in the photograph with the de Paolis couple).

What an amazing find! I’m green with envy. I have a secret hope that one day I’ll discover a masterpiece that was hidden away in an attic or antique shop.

Do you know of any other amazing art discoveries?

  • Emperor of EUtopia says:

    Okay M, here's the plan…we'll take a trip to Europe pretending to be interested in real estate, while all the time secretly scraping the paint off every room we see. I'm sure we'll find something……eventually.

  • e says:


    Can you imagine being the one to find it? Well, obviously you can, M — it's a dream, right? So cool.

    Can they be forced to turn it over to the government or anything? Can they keep it in their home forever?

  • heidenkind says:

    I tell ya, some people have all the luck. That is a pretty freaking amazing find!

  • M says:

    Emperor of EUtopia – it's a deal. Let's go! I vote that we start in Florence first.

    From what I can tell, e, it looks like this couple is wiling to donate the frescoes (and their home), if the art gets restored and available for public viewing. They said that they'd just like a "little house" offered to them in return. I wish I had that kind of leverage – if I got sick of living in my house, then I could just announce a discovery and get someone to give me some new digs.

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This blog focuses on making Western art history accessible and interesting to all types of audiences: art historians, students, and anyone else who is curious about art. Alberti’s Window is maintained by Monica Bowen, an art historian and professor.