Sandro Botticelli’s Renaissance portrait comes to Sotheby’s with $80m estimate

25 сентября 2020

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In January 2021, Sotheby’s will auction Sandro Botticelli’s «Young Man Holding a Roundel», one of the most significant portraits, of any period, ever to appear at auction.

Sandro Botticelli «Young Man Holding a Roundel», 1470s-1480s © Sotheby’s

A rare 15th century portrait by Italian painter Sandro Botticelli is going up for auction. Sotheby’s has announced that the work, titled «Young Man Holding a Roundel», will be sold in in January 2021 in an Old Masters evening sale at the house’s New York headquarters, where it is expected to achieve an estimated $80 million.

«In the popular imagination, no other painter evokes the golden age of the Florentine Renaissance more powerfully than Sandro Botticelli. — Christopher Apostle, head of Sotheby’s Old Master paintings depаrtment, said. — His Birth of Venus and Primavera are among the most famous works in the canon of Western Art. His nymphs, goddesses, Madonnas and saints populate our imagination as representatives of the rebirth of science, art, and literature in a city that laid the foundation for the modern world. It is in his portraits, however, that Botticelli most clearly opens a window onto the world of Renaissance Florence — never more so than in Young Man Holding a Roundel, a painting that encapsulates the intellectual, courtly and humanistic virtues that define the Italian Renaissance».

While the auctioneer’s official estimate predicts a sale price «in excess of $80 million», Christopher Apostle also said that it could «very well be the next painting to surpass the rarified $100 million threshold». In doing so, «Young Man Holding a Roundel» would become the first painting to achieve a nine-figure sum at auction since Claude Monet’s «Haystacks», which fetched over $110 million at Sotheby’s New York last year.

In the past 50 years, the painting has spent extended periods on loan at the National Gallery, London, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, and the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. It has also featured prominently in major exhibitions at the Royal Academy, the National Gallery of Art, Washington and the Städel Museum, Frankfurt am Main.

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