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The 16th-century painting by the Renaissance Italian artist Sandro Botticelli sold at auction on January 27 at Sotheby's in New York. "The Man of Sorrows" was sold for $39.3 million (€35.27 million) after a seven-minute bidding war. With the addition of fees and commissions, the price of the piece reached $45.41 million. The auction comes a year after another work by the Italian master — the "Young Man Holding a Roundel" — was sold for a record-breaking $92 million.
Booming year for art sales
The painting shows a picture of Jesus Christ with thorns on his head and surrounded by angels. Experts believe it was painted in the early 1500s, at the end of Botticelli's life. The work was taken on a world tour before arriving at the auction.
The Renaissance artist is also known for his frescoes that decorate the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican. Most of his paintings are on display in galleries such as the Uffizi in Florence, Italy. Privately owned works by the artist are much rarer.
"The Man of Sorrows" had been owned by a family of art collectors since the mid-19th century, before passing to new owners in 1963 at another Sotheby's auction for £10,000 — equivalent to around £178,000 today (€213,000, $238,000).
Last year proved to be a booming one for the international art market following the bottleneck supply in 2020. The Sotheby's auction house hit its highest ever sales figures of $7.3 billion.
ab/msh (dpa, AFP)
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