A Portrait by Italian Renaissance Painter Sandro Botticelli Sells For Record $92M at US Auction
A portrait by Italian renaissance painter Sandro Botticelli has been sold for $92 million at a Sotheby’s auction in New York, smashing the record price for the artist.
“Young Man Holding a Roundel,” believed to have been painted in the 1470s or 1480s, is considered one of Botticelli’s finest portraits and is the highlight of Sotheby’s Masters Week sale on Thursday.
“This Botticelli is so much more spectacular in every way than anything we’ve seen coming to the market,” Christopher Apostle, Sotheby’s senior vice president said ahead of the auction.
The 58-centimetre by 39-centimetre (23-inch by 15.5-inch) painting shows a man in his late teenage years with long golden hair sitting holding a disc featuring a bearded saint.
The roundel, which depicts the saint with his right hand raised, is an original 14th-century artwork attributed to Sienese painter Bartolommeo Bulgarini.
A Renaissance masterpiece
Art historians suspect the Botticelli depicts a nobleman proudly showing off the earlier artwork.
“This image symbolises and exemplifies the Renaissance in Florence. We haven’t seen anything like it in my lifetime,” said Apostle, describing it as “a masterpiece.”
Sotheby’s said the final price, including fees and commissions, was $92.2 million after it was sold under the hammer for $80 million.
The price establishes the work as one of the most significant portraits to have ever sold at auction.
The sale ranks alongside Gustav Klimt’s “Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer II,” which sold for $87.9 million in 2006 and Vincent Van Gogh’s “Portrait of Dr Gachet,” which fetched $82.5 million in 1990.
The previous record for a Botticelli was set in 2013 when “Madonna and Child with Young Saint John the Baptist” sold for $10.4 million.
“Young Man Holding a Roundel” was handed down through several generations of an aristocratic family in Wales for around 200 years.