A PAINTING that hung in an Oxford college but now believed by one expert to be a Michelangelo will soon be on display at Oxford’s Ashmolean Museum.

The painting at Campion Hall, a permanent private hall of Oxford University run by the Jesuits, has generally been thought to be by Marcello Venusti, a contemporary of Michelangelo.

But expert Antonio Forcellino has used infra-red techniques to examine layers beneath the finished painting and believes Michelangelo was the artist. The painting, left, called Cruxifixion with St John and St Mary Magdalen, has now been removed from the wall of the Campion Chapel and transferred to the Ashmolean in Beaumont Street for safe keeping.

Father Brendan Callaghan, the Master of Campion Hall, said: “If the painting is valued as a Venusti then its value is estimated at about £200,000.

“But if it is a Michelangelo then just add the noughts.

“It could be worth millions.”

He added: “It is a very beautiful piece but far too valuable to have on our wall anymore.”

Mr Forcellino, a Michelangelo expert, has visited the hall in Brewer Street to examine the painting several times.

Fr Callaghan added: “His opinion is not shared by Venusti experts and the debate surrounding the painting should prompt a great deal of interest when it goes on display at the Ashmolean in the autumn, when it returns from an exhibition in Rome.”