A rare portrait of the Italian Renaissance painter Sandro Botticelli has been auctioned for 76 million euros in New York. That makes this the second most valuable painting ever of an old master. Only a work by Leonardo da Vinci has produced more than EUR 370 million four years ago.
Botticellis work was the absolute masterpiece of Sothebys auction. As far as we know, only a dozen portraits of the Florentine Master have been preserved and most of them are in museums. In advance, it was thought that the painting would be sold for some 66 million euros.
Unknown young man
Botticelli made the painting somewhere around 1480, showing a young man holding a round painting. Who is the man depicted in the painting is unknown. Some experts associate him with the influential De Medici family.
The last owner, the now deceased New York real estate owner Sheldon Solow, bought the work in 1982 for over 900,000 euros. Over the past decades Portrait of a Young Man has been shown in a number of leading museums, including the National Gallery in London and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Who the buyer is, has not been disclosed.
A painting by Rembrandt would also be sold at the auction. It was expected that this work would bring 16 to 25 million euros, but the owner withdrew the painting at the last minute.