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Leonardo Da Vinci £8.8MILLION animal portrait becomes most-expensive drawing on paper ever


Leonardo Da Vinci’s drawing of the head of a bear was sold for a record £8.8million at auction.

The picture, titled ‘Head Of A Bear’, was drawn on a pink-beige ‘Post-It Note’ less than three inches squared, made in 1480, The Times reports. 

It was purchased at Christie’s auction house by an unnamed ‘family trust’ and is the most expensive sale for any of Da Vinci’s work on paper.  

Leonardo Da Vinci’s drawing of the head of a bear (pictured), which is three inches squared, was sold for a record £8.8million at auction 

The 'Post-It note' size drawing was purchased at Christie's auction house (pictured) by an unnamed 'family trust' and is the most expensive sale for any of Da Vinci's work on paper

The ‘Post-It note’ size drawing was purchased at Christie’s auction house (pictured) by an unnamed ‘family trust’ and is the most expensive sale for any of Da Vinci’s work on paper

The sale beat the 2001 sale for his ‘Horse and Rider’, bought for more than 8million pounds – the former record for a drawing by the Italian Renaissance master. 

The picture has been on display in New York, Hong Kong and London before it’s purchase. 

Speaking before the sale, Ben Hall, old master paintings chairman at Christie’s New York, described the drawing as ‘one of the most important works from the Renaissance still in private hands’.

He added: ‘The work has been owned by some of the most distinguished collectors in the field of old masters across many centuries, not least the present owner who has owned it since 2008.

Pictured: Royal Collection Trust staff pose beside some of Leonardo Da Vinci's anatomical studies at A Life in Drawing, the largest exhibition of Leonardo's work in more than 65 years, at The Queen's Gallery, Buckingham Palace in London, Britain, May 23, 2019 [file photo]

Pictured: Royal Collection Trust staff pose beside some of Leonardo Da Vinci’s anatomical studies at A Life in Drawing, the largest exhibition of Leonardo’s work in more than 65 years, at The Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace in London, Britain, May 23, 2019 [file photo]

‘It has been admired around the world whilst shown by prestigious museums and Christie’s is honoured to bring this Leonardo to the market this season.’

The piece is a silverpoint drawing on a pink-beige paper, that depicts – as the name suggests – a sketch of a bear’s head. The signature of Leonardo da Vinci is written in the bottom-right hand corner.  

The auction house said it is ‘one of less than eight surviving drawings by Leonardo still in private hands outside of the British Royal Collection and the Devonshire Collections at Chatsworth’.  

Salvator Mundi: Da Vinci’s ‘male Mona Lisa’ 

Salvator Mundi, a depiction of Christ as saviour of the world, is thought to have been painted in around 1500 for Louis XII – shortly after the French king conquered the Duchy of Milan and took control of Genoa.  

The original piece is the most expensive painting ever sold at auction, breaking all records at Christie’s in New York in 2017 when it was purchased by Badr bin Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Farhan Al Saud for $450,300,000.

The painting depicts Jesus in Renaissance dress, making the sign of the cross with his right hand, while holding a transparent, non-refracting crystal orb in his left.

Around 20 other versions of the work are known to have been created by students and followers of Da Vinci, with preparatory chalk and ink drawings of the drapery by the master held in the British Royal Collection.  

The drawing’s ownership can be traced to British painter Thomas Lawrence and upon his death in 1830, it was passed to his dealer Samuel Woodburn. He sold it to Christie’s in 1860 for £2.50, according to the auction house.

Its previous owner had it since 2008.

In 2017 another record was set when Da Vinci’s Salvator Mundi, a depiction of Christ as saviour of the world, was purchased in New York by Badr bin Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Farhan Al Saud for $450,300,00.

The painting which Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman allegedly paid $450million to own may in fact have been created by Renaissance artist Leonardo da Vinci after all.

The expensive painting of Christ, dubbed the ‘male Mona Lisa’, has not been seen in public since it was reportedly bought for a monumental sum by the Saudi royal family at a 2017 Christie’s auction.

A documentary due to run on French TV this week alleges that the Saudis withheld the painting from a 2019 exhibition at the Louvre in Paris after experts concluded that the master had only ‘contributed’ to it.

But other art experts have now rubbished filmmaker Antoine Vitkine’s claims and believe the painting, which depicts Jesus in Renaissance dress holding an orb in his left hand, was ‘indeed the work of Leonardo’.

Da Vinci’s other works, such as the Mona Lisa that is found at the Louvre Museum in Paris, are considered priceless.

In addition to Da Vinci’s paintings, the Italian renaissance polymath’s drawings are among some of the most treasured items in museum and private collections.

His most famous drawing is considered to be the Vitruvian Man, a sketch that represents the artist’s ideal body proportions, kept in Venice.

A Salvator Mundi painting which Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman allegedly paid $450million to own may in fact have been created by Renaissance artist Leonardo da Vinci

A Salvator Mundi painting which Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman allegedly paid $450million to own may in fact have been created by Renaissance artist Leonardo da Vinci



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