Recording the rediscovered Ecce Homo

Factum Foundation, as part of the Colnaghi & Factum joint venture, is delighted to announce the recording in high resolution of the Ecce Homo recently attributed to Caravaggio. Since 2021, the rediscovered work has undergone investigation and consolidation at the Museo del Prado and Factum ensured a comprehensive record of the painting’s condition by providing the experts with a high-resolution recording of the painting before, during and after restoration over the course of three years – a unique and rare occasion to document a painting’s history. The recording process coincided with the launch of Colnaghi & Factum and represents a significant step forward in making 3D scanning of painting surfaces more accessible for collectors and museums alike.

The Lucida 3D Scanner recording the surface of the Ecce Homo © Oak Taylor-Smith | Factum Foundation

Originally attributed to the circle of José de Ribera and belonging to the Pérez de Castro Méndez family, the Ecce Homo became “one of the greatest discoveries in the history of art” when it was withdrawn from auction at Ansorena in April 2021. Compelling evidence from a team of experts found reason to believe the work could be Caravaggio’s Ecce Homo, commissioned in 1605 by Cardinal Massimi when the painter was at the height of his fame in Rome.

Factum Foundation, through its partnership with Colnaghi, had the honour to record the painting soon after its rediscovery in 2021, and to support the experts at the Prado by recording the painting during and after the restoration process. Using the Lucida 3D Scanner and composite colour photography, the painting’s topography and state of conservation were recorded at three specific moments in time, providing invaluable information for its condition report in the form of a ‘digital passport’ that will belong to the new owner. Colnaghi & Factum, launched in 2022, aims to provide both private and public collections with an accurate way to digitally preserve and monitor their paintings through detailed surface analysis.

Factum Foundation has applied its high-resolution non-invasive recording technologies on several paintings by Caravaggio: in 2009, the three paintings from the Contarelli Chapel in the Church of San Luigi dei Francesi were recorded using state-of-the-art composite photography; in 2014, the lost Nativity with Saint Francis and Saint Lawrence was recreated and installed in the Oratory of San Lorenzo in the heart of Palermo as part of the Sky Arts documentary series ‘Mystery of the Lost Paintings’; and in 2020, the Burial of Saint Lucy from the Church of Santa Lucia alla Badia in Syracuse was recorded in high resolution to make a facsimile for the exhibition ‘Caravaggio. The Contemporary’ at Mart Rovereto.

Now fully restored, the Ecce Homo was unveiled at the Museo del Prado on May 28th and will be on display until February 2025.
For more information about the exhibition, please visit the Prado Museum’s website here.