A RENAISSANCE masterpiece by master artist Botticelli has fetched nearly $100m at a New York auction held by Sotheby’s who say it is one of the most significant artworks ever sold.
Sandro Botticelli, a 15th-century artist from Florence, most likely produced “Young Man Holding a Roundel” on commission for an elite noble family. The painting, one of only 6 surviving portraits by the artist, features a young man dressed in a tunic holding a roundel (medallion) standing before a blue sky.
The painting was expected to sell for over $80 million, but an anonymous buyer paid a staggering $92 million (75m euro) to take home the masterpiece. Sotheby’s, one of the world’s most esteemed auctioneers, say the portrait is one of the most significant artworks ever sold. Scholars didn’t even know of its existence until the early 20th century, as it has spent over two centuries being passed through the generations of an aristocratic family in Wales.
In 1982 it was sold to a private collector in a British auction, and previously spent four decades exhibited in the National Gallery in London and New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art. Botticelli’s most famous paintings, Birth of Venus and Primavera, are exhibited in the Uffizi Gallery in the artist’s native Florence, Italy.
The Renaissance period was an era of Italian history when the powerful families who controlled each city-state spent their lavish wealth on fine art. The period produced some of the greatest artists in history, including Leonardo Di Vinci and Michelangelo.
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