Did you hear about the record-setting Raphael that was sold yesterday? Following a strenuous battle between bidders, âHead of a Young Apostleâ was sold for $47.8 million at Sothebyâs, London (check out their video about it) for Chatworth House in Derbyshire, one of the worldâs greatest Old Master Drawings collections. The price was almost three times the pre-sale low estimate. Artdaily.org reports that Gregory Rubinstein, Worldwide Head of Old Master Drawings at Sothebyâs, said âA number of the worldâs greatest collectors stepped up tonight in recognition of the genius of Raphael and the extraordinary beauty of this drawing with its exceptional provenance.â
Itâs no surprise that so many people stand in awe of Raphaelâs exceptional abilities and his remarkable artwork. âHead of a Young Apostleâ shows a sketch for what would become one of the key figures (the first apostle on the left, if youâre looking) in Raphaelâs famous Transfiguration â a work which took pride of place hanging above the artistâs head after his death when his body was laid out in state in his studio, and which now belongs to the Vatican Museum. Thereâs a story behind the Transfiguration, too â one which can only increase an art loverâs interest and appreciation for the work. Agora Galleryâs Registrar, Chiara Mortaroli, shares that story with us here.
We think of ourselves as in many ways very removed from the past, and the centuries that divide us from the Renaissance seem to separate us utterly from the way of life that was common then. Yet the art of that period continues to fascinate and charm the modern viewer, and by examining pieces from that time more closely, we can also learn how similar the emotions and human interactions they represent are to those experienced today. This tale of rivalry, friendship and fine art is a perfect example of this intriguing exercise.