$A177m painting found in French attic

$A177m painting found in French attic - 13th April 2016

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A painting found in the attic of a house in southwest France two years ago has been attributed to the Italian master Caravaggio and has been hailed as a great event in the history of art.

The work was found by the Toulouse house's owners after they began investigating a leak and depicts Biblical heroine Judith beheading an Assyrian general.

The Eric Turquin art agency has placed the value of the painting at 120 million euros ($A178 million).

The painting is thought to have been painted in Rome in 1604 by Michelangelo Merisi, known as Caravaggio, and is in exceptionally good conditions, Eric Turquin said, despite having been forgotten in the attic for probably more than 150 years.

French authorities have put a bar on it leaving France, describing it in a decree as a painting of 'great artistic value, that could be identified as a lost painting by Caravaggio'.