The works of Italian Renaissance master Leonardo da Vinci have always sold for record prices. So, it is no surprise that an upcoming July auction of a Da Vinci sketch is expected to again set new auction records:
The presale estimates of this piece range from $11.2 million to $16.9 million.
The piece, aptly titled ‘Head of Bear‘, will be going up on sale at an upcoming auction being hosted by Christie’s London. The auction is set to take place on July 8, 2021.
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Limited Edition Da Vinci Sketch
The artwork ‘Head of a Bear‘ is one of only eight surviving da Vinci sketches that private collectors currently own. The rest of his works are maintained by the Royal Collection and the Devonshire Collections at Chatsworth.
What makes this da Vinci sketch so unique is that it is drawn on pinkish beige paper, and while drawing this, da Vinci demonstrated a drawing technique taught by Andrea del Verrocchio. Da Vinci used soft and scribbled lines to draw the exact structure of the bear’s head:
The drawing has been executed in silverpoint, and it belongs to a series of numerous small-scale animal studies that da Vinci worked on in the 1480s.
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The Origin Story Of ‘Head of a Bear’
In the early 19th century, this sketch was owned by Sir Thomas Lawrence, who was not only a renowned British painter but also a well-known collector of Old Master artworks like this:
After Lawrence’s death, this da Vinci drawing went into the hands of an art dealer Samuel Woodburn. Woodburn later went on to auction this sketch with Christie’s for just $3.50 in 1860, without realizing its actual worth.
The July auction is expected to surpass the previous auction amounts earned by any Da Vinci drawings. Currently, the record is held by da Vinci’s ‘Horse and Rider‘ sketch, which sold for over $11 million in 2001:
This is still the record for a sketch made by da Vinci to date. It was sold at Christie’s Paris.
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The $450.3 Million Salvator Mundi
Another piece of alleged da Vinci art set a world record in 2017, it was the ‘Salvator Mundi‘, a painting from 1490 that sold for a massive $450.3 million, also at Christie’s:
This historical sale drew much attention and controversy. While many art experts remain firm that it was da Vinci himself who painted the Salvator Mundi, opinions remain divided, and many art experts remain unconvinced:
Some argue that the painting, which underwent years of restoration before the sale, was most likely to have been made by the Master Artist’s assistants. The authenticity of this painting still remains a mystery, with many art historians claiming that the painting lacks the perfected human body movement of da Vinci.
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