Rome

Raphael drawing goes for record $48 million at auction

'Head of a Young Apostle' sketched for artist's last masterpiece

Raphael drawing goes for record $48 million at auction

Rome, December 6 - A drawing by Italian High Renaissance master Raphael has sold for 29.72 million pounds, or $47.9 million - a record for a work on paper in art history - after a dramatic bidding war at a Sotheby's auction in London. The work, Head of a Young Apostle, was sketched for the Urbino painter's last masterpiece, the Transfiguration, an altarpiece commissioned in 1516 by Cardinal Giulio de' Medici that now hangs in the Pinacoteca of the Vatican Museums. The winning bid came after a 17-minute duel on Wednesday. In addition to the drawing's prestigious provenance, the price was driven up by the scarcity of such preliminary works on the market, plus its notable pedigree, having passed through a long line of English aristocracy, including William Cavendish, the second Duke of Devonshire, who acquired it in 1720.

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