Renaissance Masterpiece Discovered in Elderly Woman’s Kitchen

In further news: ImageNet removes 600,000 images after art project reveals AI racial bias; Olafur Eliasson appointed UN ambassador

Cimabue, Christ Mocked, 1280. Courtesy: AFP and Getty Images; photograph: Philippe Lopez

Cimabue, Christ Mocked, 1280. Courtesy: AFP and Getty Images; photograph: Philippe Lopez

A woman has discovered a Renaissance painting by Florentine master Cimabue in her kitchen. Christ Mocked (1280), which had been hanging above a hot plate in the woman’s house in the northern French town of Compiègne, is estimated to be worth between EU€4 million and EU€6 million. The painting is thought to be part of a large polyptych dating back to the 13th century. Experts have said that there was ‘no disputing’ its origin after tests were carried out using infrared light to determine the similarities with works by the Italian painter Cimabue, also known as Cenni di Pepo. Éric Turquin, an art expert, told French newspaper Le Figaro: ‘The painting was done by the same hand.’ The painting will go for auction in Paris on 27 October. 

ImageNet, one of the largest online databases for pictures, will remove 600,000 images stored in its system after an art project revealed its racial bias. The news comes after artist Trevor Paglen and AI researcher Kate Crawford’s viral project ImageNet Roulette, which highlighted the unsettling ways that AI technology used by ImageNet categorised people. For example, white people were often labelled with unusual titles such as ‘pipe smoker’ and ‘flight attendant’ while black people were often tagged with racial slurs. In a statement posted on its website, ImageNet said: ‘As AI technology advances from research lab curiosities into people’s daily lives, ensuring that AI systems produce appropriate and fair results has become an important scientific question.’

Olafur Eliasson has been appointed the United Nations Development Program’s Goodwill Ambassador. On Sunday, it was announced that the Danish-Icelandic artist, whose survey is currently on view at Tate Modern, London, will be responsible for advocating for urgent climate action by assisting the UNDP to ‘raise awareness and mobilize support’ in this newly-created position. The artist has long made work on environmental themes, such as Your Blind Passenger (2010) which consists of lighting apparatus and a fog machine that obstructs the vision of a hallway. In a statement sent to ARTnews, Eliasson said: ‘Life on Earth is about co-existence — among people, non-human animals, ecosystems, and the environment. Co-existence is beautiful and generative, chaotic and challenging. The fact is, we’re in it together. That’s why we all have to take the climate emergency seriously.’

In further news: Marianne Boesky represents New York-based artist Ghada Amer; Richard Forster has moved to Timothy Taylor; and Mami Kataoka has been appointed the Director of Tokyo’s Mori Art Museum

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