Campion Hall, one of Oxford’s permanent private halls, may have unknowingly owned an original painting by Michelangelo since the 1930s.


Antonio Forcellino, a respected art scholar, has used infrared techniques to examine preliminary sketches underneath the painting. He suggests that this shows the artwork Crucifixion With The Madonna, St John And Two Morning Angels to have been painted by Michelangelo, and not his contemporary Marcelo Venusti, as previously had been thought.


The artwork is one of two pieces identified by Mr Forcellino in his book The Lost Michelangelos. The other, an unfinished painting of Mary and Jesus, was found in an American family home where it had been stored behind the sofa for safekeeping.


The relatively small work, measuring around 20” x 13′, had simply been hanging on a wall. Since the new evidence, it has been safely stored in the Ashmolean.


However the process of identifying an artist is rarely definitive. Dr Geraldine Johnson, lecturer of History of Art at the University of Oxford, hadn’t yet seen the evidence but said ‘even if it turns out to be compelling, it would still need to be assessed critically in light of other available evidence’.


This would include ‘close visual analysis of the style, composition, and painting technique’ alongside ‘provenance research and other relevant and historical/iconographic information.’