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Mary Magdalene in Ecstasy. ‘I know a Caravaggio when I see one,’ said Mina Gregori. Photograph: La Repubblica

One of Italy’s most eminent art historians has claimed to have solved a centuries-old mystery after identifying a previously unknown painting in a private collection as a “magnificent” Caravaggio masterpiece.

Mina Gregori, 90, president of the Roberto Longhi foundation of art history studies in Florence and author of several books on the baroque painter, said she was 100% sure she had found the original Mary Magdalene in Ecstasy.

“I have become a connoisseur,” she said. “And I know a Caravaggio when I see one.”

A number of elements had combined to give her complete certainty, she said, that the oil on canvas she was presented with this year was the real thing.

There are several different versions of the Mary Magdalene in Ecstasy, and until now the one thought most likely by art historians to be the 1606 original was lying in a private collection in Rome.

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Lizzie Davies
The Guardian

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