An unseen artwork by famous painter Velazquez is expected to fetch more than 1 million GBP at auction after spending the last 100 years hanging in a family home.

 

The oil painting by Diego de Velazquez has belonged to a "noble family" who kept it in their living room in the Spanish capital Madrid.

 

But the portrait by the "greatest European painter who ever lived" is now being seen by the public for the first time.

 

The artwork, called the Girl Portrait, will go up for auction at the end of the month, where it is expected to fetch a six-figure sum.

 

Gonzalo Mora, director of the Abalarte auction house, said: "The exquisiteness and rarity of this painting will attract several big international collectors to our next auction."

 

Velazquez, one of the most important painters of the Spanish Golden Age, is believed to have painted the portrait in around 1617 during his early days in Seville.

 

For the last hundred years the painting has belonged the same wealthy family, who are originally from the Andalusia region.

 

They referred to it as the "velazqueno child" - and kept its beauty hidden from the world.

 

Where the painting spent its first 300 years is currently unknown and experts are only now able to study the 57.5 by 44 centimetre canvas for the first time.

 

A spokesman for the auction house said: "This is a valuable artwork for the study of Velazquez.

 

"This painting belongs to the first time in Seville, one of the most enigmatic times of the artist and not very well known".

 

This painting will be auctioned on 25th April and although there is no opening price set, it is believed it will go for in excess of 1 million GBP.

CEN/@Abalarte
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Author: Ana LaCasa Martinez

Ana Lacasa Martinez has been a freelance reporter and correspondent covering Spain and South America for eight years, and has worked for many UK nationals including the Daily Mail, Daily Mirror and the Sun. She is completely fluent in both Spanish and English, and is also an experienced news photographer.