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Friday, October 16, 2020

A rare Botticelli painting is expected to sell at $80 million

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Sotheby’s will put up for sale a rare painting by the Renaissance master, estimated at $ 80 million.

A painting by Italian Renaissance master Sandro Botticelli will go on sale in January in New York by auction house Sotheby’s, which estimates its price at over $ 80 million.

The canvas represents a young man with long hair and holding a medallion. His identity is not known, but specialists believe he may be a close friend of the powerful Florentine Medici family.

The work is undated, but is believed to have been made between the late 1470s and the early 1480s by Sandro Botticelli (1445-1510), born Alessandro di Mariano Filipepi.

This was the painter’s most prolific period, during which he went to Rome at the request of the Pope to decorate the Sistine Chapel, and also painted “The Birth of Venus” and “Spring”, two of his most famous works. famous.

“This image symbolizes the Renaissance in Florence,” explained Christopher Apostle, head of the Old Masters department at Sotheby’s in New York. That moment “when everything fundamentally changed for Western thought, art and literature.”

8 times the record

The painting was estimated at more than 80 million dollars, or about 8 times the record for a painting by the Florentine master, set in 2013 by “The Madonna and Child with the Young Saint-Jean Baptiste”, sold 10.4 millions of dollars.

“This Botticelli is so much more impressive than anything else on the market” from the painter’s work, said Christopher Apostle.

Although over 500 years old, the painting is in an exceptional state of preservation.

In the possession of a private collector, who bought it 810,000 books in 1982 (about $ 1.3 million), it has nevertheless been exhibited in many museums and for long periods.

“When you look at a canvas like this, which is so exceptional, you have to compare it to other masterpieces, paintings by Picasso, Bacon or Basquiat”, argued the Sotheby’s specialist. to explain how the house arrived at this estimate.

If it exceeded $ 100 million, the painting would be the first to cross that threshold in 20 months.

“When you have a masterpiece that presents itself, people wake up, (…) whatever the period,” says Christopher Apostle of the context marked by great economic uncertainty.

He recalls that the market remained strong despite the pandemic, with in particular a triptych by Francis Bacon sold 84.6 million in June.

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