LONDON – A drawing by Italian Renaissance master Leonardo da Vinci, one of the last to be sold, is expected to fetch $ 16 million at its auction on Thursday.
Estimated to be over 500 years old and only 2.75 by 2.75 inches, the design known simply as “Bear Head” will likely sell for between $ 11 million and $ 16.5 million, the house said. auction.
“An exquisite demonstration of Leonardo da Vinci’s unparalleled mastery as a draftsman and his avant-garde attitude to the study of nature, this penetrating study of a bear’s head is one of a very small number of drawings of him still in private hands. ” Christie’s said in a statement posted on its website.
He added that the design was created using a technique called “silver tip”, in which a thin silver stylus is applied to specially treated paper. Da Vinci learned it from his master, Andrea del Verrocchio, the major artist of Florence at the time.
The drawing is one of four studies of animals of similar size that Leonardo did at Silver Point around the same time, according to the auction house. The other three include drawings of a waking bear, a dog’s paw, a cat and a dog.
The drawing was previously owned by British painter and collector Sir Thomas Lawrence, before being sold at Christie’s in 1860 for 2.50 pounds ($ 3.4), according to the auction house. In the first half of the 20th century, the design belonged to another British collector, Captain Norman Robert Colville. It remained in Colville’s trust and was eventually purchased by its current owner, whom Christie’s did not identify, in 2008.
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Since its first public exhibition in 1937, it has also been shown in museums around the world.
The last Da Vinci drawing to auction dates back to 2001 at Christie’s when “Horse and Rider” sold for over $ 11 million, the record price for a silver coin by the artist, according to the auction house. at auction.
The Da Vinci painting of Jesus Christ known as “Salvator Mundi” or “Savior of the World,” sold for a record $ 450 million to an undisclosed bidder in New York in 2017, though that some art experts remain divided on whether Da Vinci actually painted the work.
Da Vinci, born in 1452, is considered one of the most influential minds in the world, known not only for his art, but also for his revolutionary vision and his talent as an inventor, scientist and engineer.