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    Saturday, December 24th, 2022
    Adoration of the Magi – Sandro Botticelli (1445-1510), Uffizi Gallery, Florence

    We wish all our readers a very happy and peaceful Christmas.


    Friday, January 28th, 2022
    Sandro Botticelli – The Man of Sorrows c1500.

    The Man of Sorrows by Botticelli sold for $45.5 million at Sotheby’s in New York on January 27. The hammer price was $39.3 million, just under the estimate of around $40 million. From an American collection the work had last changed hands in 1963 for £10,000. Works by Botticelli (about 1445-1510), best known for his various portraits of Madonna and Child, The Birth of Venus and Primaverararely appear on the auction market. The Man of Sorrows is one of only four of his late works known to be in private hands according to Sotheby’s.

    (See posts on for October 8, 2021 and January 2, 2022)


    Sunday, January 2nd, 2022
    Sandro Botticelli – The Man of Sorrows. UPDATE: THIS SOLD FOR $45.5 MILLION

    A link between Botticelli and the buses, unknown to art history, has emerged on the art market.  You wait for ever and then two come along more or less together.  One of the last great masterpieces by the Renaissance master will highlight Sothebys annual Masters Week sale series in New York later this month.  The Man of Sorrows is estimated to make in excess of $40 million (€35.4 million).  It is a late period work from a time when the artist was greatly influenced by the fanatical preaching of hellfire Dominican friar Girolamo Savonarola. The most distinctive features are the frontal presentation of the stunningly modern human portrayal of the resurrected Christ and a halo of angels holding the instruments of the passion.

    Works by Botticelli are exceedingly rare. In January 2021 Sotheby’s sold Sandro Botticelli’s Portrait of a Young Man Holding a Roundel for $92.2 million (€81.78 million).  It is the most valuable Old Master painting ever sold at auction.

    Sandro Botticelli – Portrait of a Young Man Holding a Roundel.


    Friday, October 8th, 2021
    Sandro Botticelli – The Man of Sorrows  UPDATE: THIS SOLD FOR $45.5 MILLION

    One of the last great Botticelli masterpieces in private hands will come up at Sotheby’s in New York next January during Masters Week. The Man of Sorrows – which portrays the resurrected Christ – is a late work produced at a time when the artist had come under the influence of fanatical Dominican friar Girolamo Savonarola. It has an estimate of in excess of $40 million. It comes to market following the record-breaking sale of Botticelli’s Young Man Holding a Roundel at Sotheby’s last January. It made $92.2 million.

    (See post on for January 28, 2021)


    Thursday, January 28th, 2021

    Moments ago Botticelli’s Portrait of a young man holding a roundel sold for $92,184,000 at Sotheby’s in New York sale of Master Paintings and Sculpture. It shattered the previous record for a Botticelli by nine times and was the highest price ever paid for an Old Master at Sotheby’s. It was last purchased at auction for $1.3 million in 1982.

    The Botticelli now stands alongside Francis Bacon’s Inspired by the Oresteia of Aeschylus as the second work to have surpassed $80m at auction since Sotheby’s pioneered the new live-streamed auction format some seven months ago.  The sale today is among the auctions which attracted the highest number of participants ever seen in a Sotheby’s live-streamed auction. Some 66% of bidders registered online. This echoes the pattern of 2020, which also saw many new buyers enter the field.

    The Botticelli becomes the second most expensive Old Master ever sold at auction. In 2017 Leonardo’s Salvador Mundi mde $450 million at Christie’s and is the most expensive Old Master ever sold at auction. 


    Saturday, January 23rd, 2021

    IT is not everyday that a painting by Botticelli comes to auction, and it is not everyday that a sale of Old Master drawings features a strong Cork connection and a tenuous but definite link to the monster Frankenstein. Next January 28 in New York will be just such a day. Led by Botticelli, Rembrandt and Bernini  the highest value Masters Week in Sotheby’s history runs in New York until January 30. The seven Sotheby’s auctions of paintings, drawings and sculpture with works spanning four centuries is headed by Botticelli’s Young Man Holding a Roundel. Sotheby’s are confident that this work will establish art market history as one of the most significant portraits of any period ever at auction. They have not published an estimate but rank it alongside Gustav Klimt’s Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer II (sold in 2006 for $87.9 million) and  Van Gogh’s Portrait of Dr. Gachet (sold in 1990 for $82.5 million). As only about 12 portraits by the early Renaissance Florentine master are known – nearly all of them in major museum collections – it seems likely that this rare and characterful portrait could break all existing records. It comes up at the marquee sale of Master Paintings and Sculpture alongside 45 other works with estimates of from $70,000 to $30 million, the top estimate for Rembrandt’s Abraham and the Angels. (The Rembrandt was withdrawn from the sale)

    The Cork connection turns up at Christie’s online sale of Old Master and British drawings including property from the Cornelia Bessie Estate which runs until January 28. Lot 81 is a portrait by the Irish artist Hugh Douglas Hamilton (1739-1808) of Robert King, 2nd Earl of Kingston and Caroline (nee Fitzgerald), Countess of Kingston.  He was an MP for County Cork. They lived at Mitchelstown Castle where they hired the author and founding feminist philosopher Mary Wollstonecraft (1759-1797) as governess to their daughters. (It is a pity that the governess did not have the opportunity to educate and civilise their son George who grew up to be the notoriously brutal commander of the North Cork Militia during the 1798 Rebellion).  The daughter she influenced most was Margaret King who, as Lady Mount Cashell, undertook a grand tour and published her diaries. The unconventional Wollstonecraft died 11 days after giving birth to her second daughter Mary Shelley, creator of Frankenstein and wife of the poet. The Kingston portraits are estimated at $12,000-$18,000

    (See post on for January 15, 2021)

    Sandro Botticelli – Portrait of a young man holding a roundel  UPDATE: THIS SOLD FOR $92,184,000


    Monday, January 11th, 2021

    Here is a video on the highest value Masters Week in Sotheby’s history from January 22-30 in New York. It is comprised of seven sales of paintings, drawings, and sculpture including important works spanning across four centuries and two distinct, impressive single owner collections formed by Dr. John O’Brien and Hester Diamond. 


    Thursday, September 24th, 2020

    Young Man Holding a Roundel by Sandro Botticelli will come up at Sotheby’s in New York next January. With an estimate in excess of $80 million it will highlight the annual Masters Week sales series. In market terms this price will establish it in art market history as one of the most significant portraits, of any period, ever to appear at auction – alongside Gustav Klimt’s Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer II (sold in 2006 for $87.9 million) and Van Gogh’s Portrait of Dr Gachet (sold in 1990 for $82.5 million).

    Young Man Holding a Roundel is the pictorial synthesis of the ideals, the magic and the beauty of Renaissance Florence where, for the first time since antiquity, the individual and the human figure were at the centre of both life and art. Botticelli was at the vanguard of this movement, and his revolutionary style lead him to be one of the first artists to abandon the tradition of depicting sitters in profile. Yet for all it embodies of the Florentine Renaissance, the painting is timelessly modern in its stark simplicity, bold colors, and graphic linearity.

    Young Man Holding a Roundel was first securely recorded in the 1930s in the collection of Lord Newborough at Caernarvon in Wales, and is believed to have been acquired by his ancestor Sir Thomas Wynn, 1st Lord Newborough (1736-1807) while living in Tuscany. In 1935/8, the portrait passed via a London dealer to a private collector, whose heirs sold it at auction in 1982 to the present owner for £810,000.

    In the past 50 years, the painting has spent extended periods on loan at the National Gallery, London, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, and the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.

    Sandro BotticelliYoung Man Holding a Roundel. UPDATE: THIS SOLD FOR $92,184,000


    Tuesday, December 24th, 2019

    THE Mystic Nativity by Sandro Botticelli dates to 1500 and is in the collection of London’s National Gallery. They bought it in 1878. The infant Christ reaches up towards the Virgin Mary, oblivious of his visitors – the Three Kings on the left and the shepherds on the right. The golden dome of heaven has opened up and is circled by 12 angels holding olive branches entwined with scrolls and hung with crowns. In the foreground, three pairs of angels and men embrace; among their feet demons scuttle for shelter in the underworld through cracks in the rocks. It is his only signed work.

    We will all visitors to a very happy Christmas.