$47.8 Million For Drawing: Raphael Fetches Tidy Sum At Auction

A Raphael drawing sold for a whopping $47.8 million at a recent auction, according to the Los Angeles Times.

“Head of a Young Apostle,” which was painted by the Italian Renaissance artist way back in the 16th century, was put onto the proverbial auction block at Sotheby’s on Wednesday. Someone decided to bring the chalk drawing home for a record-breaking $47.8 million.

The folks at Sotheby’s anticipated that Raphael’s chalk drawing would sell for $16 million and $20 million. Not surprisingly, officials at the auction house were more than a little stunned when the artwork sold for millions more than expected.

According to Vibe Magazine, “Head of a Young Apostle” is considered by many to be the predecessor to Raphael’s “The Transfiguration,” a Biblical painting which is currently on display in the Vatican Museum in Rome.

Until someone was willing to part with $47.8 million to bring home the Renaissance artist’s chalk drawing, the artwork was kept with other classic pieces at the Duke of Devonshire’s Chatsworth House in Derbyshire. The drawing has reportedly been at this location since the 1700s.

According to the New York Times, Sotheby’s “Old Master & British Paintings” ended with a bidding war that drove the Raphael painting right through the roof. It’s reported that the war for the chalk drawing lasted for roughly 17 minutes. The winning big was placed by someone over the phone.

Art Daily reports that “Head of a Young Apostle” broke a Sotheby’s record as the most expensive work on paper sold at the auction house.

“This very moving study is a paramount example of Raphael’s draughtsmanship — and shows exactly why he is revered as very possibly the greatest master of drawing who has ever lived. The sheer beauty of this work is utterly breath-taking — and the way in which it allows us to join Raphael as he created his last great masterpiece is hugely exciting,” explained Cristiana Romalli, Senior Director in the Department of Old Master Drawings at Sotheby.

Would you pay $47.8 million for a drawing?