Hotelier seeks sculpture experts to decide on Canova Art
A hotelier in the Midlands believes he may have stumbled upon a rare artwork carved by one of Italy's finest neoclassical sculptors.
Christy Maye is inviting art experts to examine a Penitent Magdalene sculpture, which he suspects could have been carved by the Italian artist Antonio Canova whose clients included Napoleon.
The Penitent Magdalene was sold at a clearance auction at Kenure Park, in Rush, Co Dublin, in 1964 but reappeared in 1998 at an auction in Co Kilkenny. The sculpture, inscribed Pietro Tenerani 1845 (in reference to Canova's assistant), was acquired by Mr Maye for £5,000 (€6,350). Since then he has been researching its origins but his initial focus on Tenerani proved fruitless. At the Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg, he found an identical work but carved by Canova.
Mr Maye said there was "no record" of Tenerani copying one of Canova's sculptures and the signature "may have been put on the sculpture to facilitate its deception" if it was being transported between cities.
He is resting his hope on an expert inspecting the work, which is displayed at the Greville Arms Hotel in Mullingar, Co Westmeath.