THIS newly-discovered portrait of Olimpia Maidalchini Pamphilj by DiegoVelázquez sold for £2.49 million (€2,792,559) at Sotheby’s in London this month.
Olimpia Pamphilj exerted such influence over Pope Innocent X (she was reputedly his lover) that she was known as the
She controlled all aspects of Vatican life. Last recorded in 1724, her portrait was painted in 1649-50 during Velázquez’s second trip to Rome.
It was on this trip that he made his famed portrait of her brother-in-law the Pope, regarded by many art historians as the greatest portrait ever painted.
Francis Bacon was obsessed and haunted by it and began an eerily haunting series of works around it in 1950.
Art from this famous series can be found in major museums around the globe.