Rare Botticelli portrait sells for record US$92.2m at New York auction
The Renaissance artist's Young Man Holding A Roundel is one of only around a dozen of his portraits known to survive today.
A rare Botticelli portrait sold for US$92.2 million (S$122.50 million) at auction at Sotheby's in New York on Thursday (Jan 28), a world record for any work by the Italian artist.
The Renaissance artist's Young Man Holding A Roundel is one of only around a dozen of his portraits known to survive today. Sandro Botticelli's large-scale Birth Of Venus and Primavera paintings are displayed in Florence's Uffizi Gallery.
Sotheby's said it was one of the most significant and valuable portraits of any period ever to appear at auction.
The US$92.2 million price at the auction, conducted by bidders on the phone and online, included a buyer's premium. The identity of the buyer was not immediately known.
The 15th-century work, which has also been known as Young Man Holding A Medallion, had carried a presale estimate of US$80 million, and Sotheby's had thought it might fetch more than US$100 million.
"There are a number of artists that ... are Olympian really in their genius. And Botticelli is one of those," Christopher Apostle, director of Old Masters paintings at the auction house, said ahead of Thursday's auction.
Sotheby's said Young Man Holding A Roundel was acquired for US$1.3 million by its previous, unidentified owner at an auction in 1982 in the United Kingdom.
It shows an unknown young man, likely a member of Florence's elite in the late 15th century, dressed in a simple tunic with a blue sky behind him and holding a roundel, or medallion.