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    Sir Peter Paul Rubens’s Nude Study of Young Man with Raised Arms.

    There was a new world auction record for a drawing by Sir Peter Paul Rubens’s when Nude Study of Young Man with Raised Arms made $8.2 million at Sotheby’s in New York.  Considered one of the most important drawings by the artist to appear on the open market in over 50 years it more than doubled the high estimate of $3.5 million.  There was intense competition between two bidders at the morning sale of Old Master Drawings.

    Drawn by the artist shortly after his return to Antwerp from Italy in late 1608 and in preparation for his monumental altarpiece, The Raising of the Cross, the drawing provides the viewer with a fascinating insight into Rubens’s working methods, as well as the energy and vigor employed by the artist in his best drawings.  Throughout his life, Rubens made substantial, chalk figure studies, but his drawings of this type are at their most imposing and sculptural in these first years back in Antwerp. At this pivotal moment, Rubens made figure studies that are genuinely Michelangelesque.

    It formerly belonged to King William II of the Netherlands and his wife Anna Pavlovna, who together amassed one of the finest collections formed anywhere in Europe in the 19th century. While many of the works they owned now reside in major museums, both in the Netherlands and around the world, this drawing was among those that passed down privately through the family.

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