The baroque artist Peter Paul Rubens made the drawing for the renowned Moretus family of book editors early in the 17th century. It was later used as a printed illustration in a physics book about optics, but it vanished later.
In fact, it was thought that it no longer existed, but all this time it was part of a private collection. "It is very exceptional that a work that was thought to be lost, pops up again", Iris Kockelbergh of the Plantin Moretus Museum says.
The Flemish Community purchased the original work for 307,400 euros. It will be recognised as a Flemish top piece and will be on display in the Antwerp Plantin-Moretus Museum. The drawing shows a kneeling scientist carrying an armillary sphere lit by a putto angel carrying a torch. The jewel can be admired in the museum until the end of October.