"The Adoration of the Magi," a painting by Rembrandt that dates back to the 1630s, was long thought lost by art history scholars and to only exist in the form of various copies of the original. Back in 2016, a piece believed to have been one of those copies accidentally fell off of a wall in Rome where it was being displayed in a collector's home, and now CNN reports that it is in fact the original painting, reportedly worth around $240 million.
Antonella Di Francesco is a professional art restorer who received the painting after the 2016 mishap, and it didn't take her long to suspect that the piece might have been the original Rembrandt painting that was long believed to have been lost. She was able to make the determination precisely after cleaning away the centuries' worth of varnish from its surface. In a press release about the discovery, Di Francesco explains that it represents the dream of anyone in the art restoration field:
"During my work one of the most beautiful things that can happen during a lifetime: the sudden awareness of being in front of a work by a very great author who reveals himself to you, which comes out of its opaque zone and chooses you to be redeemed from the darkness.
"This is the moment in which we must overcome the vertigo capable of making us sink into that wonderful sense of belonging to history. It is a thrill that has no equal, which vibrates until it drags you into an unstoppable impulse of morbid curiosity. I don't fight it and I let myself be carried away by the spell."
The painting can be attributed to Rembrandt by way of 54 by 44.5 centimeter dimensions and the use of a "very rare technique" that was only in use by Dutch masters such as Rembrandt in the 1630s, per the CNN story.
As for what will happen to the painting now, the family that unwittingly owned it apparently has no plans to sell despite its massively increased value. Instead, they say they're going to lend it out to various museums and galleries for public display.