A Titian stolen by Napoleon and found at a bus stop is being auctioned in London today

A small painting of Titian, 'The rest in the flight into Egypt'will be auctioned today in the hall Christie's From London. Your estimated price: £15-25 million (€19.1-31.9 million). The work is covered by a third party warranty and therefore its sale is assured. It is likely that this will exceed the limit artist record ($16.9 million)founded by 'A Sacred Conversation: Madonna and Child with Saint Luke and Saint Catherine of Alexandria', sold at Sotheby's-New York in 2011.

The painting is believed to have been created by the Renaissance master when he was only one year old TeenagerVenice was one of the richest and most cosmopolitan cities in the world at the time and, as a centre of the paint and textile trade, supplied artists with a variety of precious pigments from abroad.

The history of painting, widely documentedbegins in the distinguished collection of the Venetian spice merchant Bartolomeo della Nave, known for his possession of over 230 paintings, including works by Bellini, Giorgione, Tintoretto and Veronese. It later passed through the hands of Archduke Leopold Wilhelm of Austria; the emperor Charles VI; Maria Teresa, Archduchess of Austria and Queen of Hungary and Bohemia; and the Emperor Joseph IIbefore being sacked by Napoleonic troops.

In 1878 Christie's sold it for 350 guineas to Colnaghi, who in turn sold it to John Alexander Thynne, 4th Marquess of Bath. Thynne's descendants are offering the work at Christie's today. The painting had a long adventure in 1995 stolen from Longleawhere it had hung since its Christie's sale. The owners recruited former Scotland Yard agent and art detective Charles Hill to find the painting, which was valued at £5 million at the time. Seven years later it was returned, unframed and in a bag, at a bus stop in Londonin exchange for a reward of £100,000. It returned to Longleat, where it has remained, except for a 2012 exhibition at the National Gallery London: 'Titian's first masterpiece: The Flight into Egypt'. In addition, works by Quentin Metsys, George Stubbs, Frans Hals and Pieter Brueghel the Younger are included in today's auction.

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