Monday, July 09, 2007

Portrait by Raphael sells for $37.2M (Picture Shown in Post)

Portrait by Raphael sells for $37.2M

Thu Jul 5, 7:11 PM ET

A painting by Italian Renaissance artist Raphael that had not been seen publicly for more than 40 years was sold at auction Thursday for $37.2 million.

The portrait of Lorenzo de' Medici, a member of Florence, Italy's ruling family, had been in the private collection of an American art dealer for nearly half a century.

Auctioneers at Christie's in London had expected the painting to sell for between $20 million and $30 million.

The portrait was sold to a private collector bidding on the telephone.

"There are only a few Raphael paintings that remain in private hands," Christie's spokesman Matthew Paton said. "We probably won't have another Raphael again for a lifetime."

Completed in 1518, two years before Raphael's death, the painting features a finely dressed Lorenzo de' Medici in gold and red brocade with delicate fur trim in front of a dark green background.

Painted on canvas — something Raphael rarely did because he preferred to paint on panels — the portrait is in superb condition, Paton said.

From the Christies announcement of the sale:

For Immediate Release
Monday, 21 May 2007
Contact: Matthew Paton 020.7389.2664


Important Old Master and British Pictures
Thursday, 5 July 2007 at 7.00pm
King Street – Christie's will offer a masterpiece by Raffaello Sanzio,
called Raphael (1483-1520) at the auction of Important Old Master and
British Pictures on 5 July 2007 in London.

One of only a handful of paintings by the artist to remain in private hands, the work portrays Lorenzo de’ Medici, Duke of Urbino and ruler of Florence from 1513 to 1519, and has not been seen in public for over 40 years. The most important Renaissance ortrait to be offered at auction for a generation, and the most important work by the artist to be offered at auction in recent decades, it is expected to realise between £10,000,000-15,000,000.

Richard Knight, International Director of Christie’s Old MasterDepartment and Paul Raison, Director and Head of Old Master Pictures at Christie's, London: “Building on Christie’s continuing leadership of the market for old master paintings, we
are excited to offer in London this remarkable work by Raphael, one of the most renowned and accomplished of European artists. The importance of the artist and the sitter, together with the provenance and the historical context behind this ainting’s
creation, make it one of the most significant old master pictures to be offered at auction for a generation. We look forward to exhibiting this remarkable painting to the public from 30 June to 5 July at our King Street salerooms in London.”

The portrait shows a swagger Lorenzo de’ Medici standing proud and resplendent against a rich green background. In the Duke’s right hand he holds what is probably a portrait miniature showing his future wife, and his striking tunic and shawl of gold and red are of the most impressive order with the fur on the neck and lining of his cape painted in a delicate manner which highlights Raphael’s exceptional ability and
technique. The vivacity and boldness of the colours, together with the handling of the abundance of fabrics worn by the Duke, are typical of the style of the Renaissance master and substantiate his being known as ‘the Prince of Painters’.


Drawings of Raphael (Master Draughtsman Series) (Paperback)

This series is a superb way of studing Raphael and his drawing techniques. The cross hatching is distinct and the attitudes of the posed figures are classical. The man knew how to observe with a careful eye. Anyone who want to advance in their drawing observation and technique will learn from Raphael or any of the drawing series. Remember all the old masters studied the drawings of other artists to advance their technique and compositions. Even Peter Paul Rubens used the poses from other artists drawings in his works and even drew on the original works at times. The famous 19th century artists studied other artists graphic works in museums to help advance their artistic studies in technique and compositions. Now with the production so advance in reproduction we do not have to travel to far museums to study the works of artists. This series bring them right to our door.

Five centuries ago a stunningly beautiful young man with flowing blond locks sat for a portrait by Raphael. In the artist’s dynamic conception, Bindo Altoviti turns as if to speak to his Florentine bride, Fiammetta. Ardently admired over the years, as it is today, Raphael’s portrait was also coolly received by more than one influential critic who cast a shadow on its reputation. This gloriously illustrated book tells the story of the portrait’s creation and of its unexpected trajectory through history.

Raphael and the Beautiful Banker: The Story of the Bindo Altoviti Portrait
Focusing on viewers’ responses to Bindo Altoviti, the book describes the transformation of the picture from a family treasure into a supposed self-portrait of the artist; its public display in Munich, where first it was celebrated, then dismissed by skeptics claiming that it was neither of nor by Raphael; and its acquisition by canny English dealers who lured the panel out of Nazi Germany. Purchased as a Raphael by American collector Samuel H. Kress, the painting was donated in 1943 to the newly opened National Gallery of Art, where Bindo’s image has beguiled visitors ever since.

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