Botticelli’s ‘Young Man’ Painting Sold For $92.2 Million

Sandro Botticelli’s portrait, which sold for $ 92m (£ 67m) at auction, breaking a new record for the Italian renaissance painter.

Young Man Holding holding a Roundel is believed to have been painted in the 1470s or 1480s and is regarded as one of Bottelli’s best portraits.

High Worth Of ‘Young Man’

It was sold on Thursday at a Sotheby auction in New York.

Sale of the painting marks the first major indicator of the state of the art market this year.

Prior to its sale, inquiries were based on the willingness of international art collectors to pay nine-figure sums for trophy works amid the coronavirus pandemic and market volatility.

The successful sale of a piece of Botticelli can help raise the prices of some such paintings at a time when many art collectors are chasing new works from post-war artists and contemporary artists.


Sotheby’s senior vice president Christopher Apostle described the young man holding Roundel as a “masterpiece” before the auction.

“This Botticelli is more impressive in every way than anything we have seen coming into the market,” he told AFP.

Young Man Holding a Roundel

“This picture shows and exemplifies the Renaissance in Florence. We haven’t seen anything like it in my lifetime,” he added.

The painting shows a man in his late teenage years with long golden hair sitting holding a disc – the roundel – which features a bearded saint with his right hand raised.

The roundel is the first painting of the 14th Century named after Sienese artist Bartolommeo Bulgarini.


Suthuby has exhibited the painting worldwide to collectors and potential bidders before auction in order to increase demand.

“The young man in the painting has done more travel during Covid than probably anybody we know,” joked Charles Stewart, CEO of Sotheby’s.

It was exhibited in Los Angeles, London and Dubai and was accompanied by a catalog containing scholarly essays and technical analysis.

The Birth of Venus

The painting is sold for $ 80m (£ 58.2m), but the final price would be $ 92.2m (£ 67.1m) when additional funds and commissions were added.

The auction was broadcast live from New York and lasted less than five minutes using only two competitors for the painting, according to The New York Times.

The selling price establishes the work as one of the most significant portraits to have ever sold at auction.

Boticicelli’s previous record was set in 2013 when Madonna and Child with Young Saint John the Baptist sold for $ 10.4m (£ 7.6m).

Other Best Sellers

Other paintings which have sold for prices in this range include Gustav Klimt’s Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer II, which sold for $87.9m (£64m) in 2006 and Vincent Van Gogh’s Portrait of Dr Gachet, which fetched $82.5m (£60m) 1990.

It is understood Young Man Holding a Roundel has been handed down through several generations of an aristocratic family in Wales for about 200 years.

Art scholars were unaware of the painting’s existence until it first appeared on the market in the early 20th Century.

It has spent much of the last 40 years on public display since its current owner acquired it in 1982 for just £810,000.

The painting appeared in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, at the National Gallery in London and elsewhere.


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