The painting is thought possibly to be by Pieter Casembroot, a painter from Bruges and a contemporary of Hans Memling whose name is far less well known than that of the great master. The panel was commissioned by an Italian and after completion swiftly dispatched to Florence. It ended up in a French collection and was offered at auction in New York.
The head of Bruges Museums says that an auction house offered him the painting. The owners, private individuals, needed to offload it for tax reasons before the year is out, allowing Bruges to purchase a bargain. It's estimated that if the panel went to auction, it would have raised several million euros.
The work is described as a unique piece of high quality art. It was painted in the city and will form part of the city's core collection of Flemish Primitive art. The painter employed the imagery of Memling and Van Eyck and is known for his works depicting several St Veronicas for the international market. The work reveals the global influence of the Flemish Primitives during the Renaissance.
The panel will soon be collected in New York, photographed and documented. No restauration is needed as it is in perfect condition.