See also : Top 10 Painting Ancient painting Ancient Italy Renaissance Italian painting 1280-1700 Sculpture Italian sculpture Bust Modigliani Christianity Madonna and Child The Man The Woman Nude Cars Ferrari LWB to GTO Cars of the 1960s Cars 1962-64
Chronology : 15th century 1480-1499 16th century 1500-1519 20th century 1910-1919 1911 1917 1919 1962
1480 The Image Holder
2021 SOLD for $ 92M including premium
The earliest is a 58 x 44 cm tempera painted around 1474, kept in the Uffizi Gallery. The added element is a gilded gesso medal bearing the effigy of Cosimo de Medici. The second, 58 x 39 cm tempera painted around 1480, will be sold by Sotheby's in New York on January 28, lot 15. Its added element is an icon of an elderly bearded saint painted on a gold background.
In both cases, there is no doubt that Botticelli designed and made the recess in the wood to place the insert. The position of the fingers around the added object is very precise. However, we can legitimately question if the currently inserted piece is original.
Cosimo's medal probably meets the artist's original intention. The Quattrocento portraits are painted with great care in the physiognomy, but also with elements that symbolize the social position, character or life of the model. The Lady with an Ermine painted by Leonardo in 1489 is a perfect example. The medal inserted in Botticelli's painting is a tribute of the model to the founder of the political power of the Medici.
The image of the bearded saint is an authentic fragment of a Sienese painting from the Trecento. The absence of an attribute to identify the saint is an anomaly if we consider the importance given to it by its holder. It may have been inserted later to replace another detached or damaged image.
Beyond these doubts, both paintings are direct witnesses of the iconographic inventiveness of one of the greatest masters of the Quattrocento.
The portrait of the young man holding the icon is in an exceptional state of conservation. This unidentified prince is sympathetic by his desire to have his medallion admired. His attitude is straight. The dark mauve pigment of the tunic is luxurious and rare. The December 4 press release reveals an estimate in excess of $ 80M. The image is shared by Wikimedia.
Madonna of the Magnificat by BOTTICELLI
Tondi were a fashion of the time for a private devotion and contemplation above eye level. Botticelli managed to have the lines modified to match a perfect view in that position.
The Madonna and Child are surrounded by five angels, two of them holding a crown over Mary's head. The Child raises his head to look at the crown and puts his hand on an illuminated book. The text of the book is identified as two canticles from the Gospel of Luke.
The Madonna holds a quill to write the left page which is the opening of the Magnificat also referred as the Song of Mary. The left hands of Mother and Child join to hold a pomegranate, the heart shaped symbol of the Passion. That co-ordinated movement of the two hands of the two leading characters is beautiful.
later 1480s Replica
2022 SOLD for $ 48M by Christie's
This tempera, oil and gold on a 63 cm tondo panel is largely autograph as evidenced by underdrawings and pentimenti revealed by infrared and x-ray inspection. The style of the lines argues for a date in the later 1480s.
The composition is simplified to match with the smaller format. The two angels and the crown have been removed, making more mystical the raised gaze of the Child. The three remaining angels are now winged.
A selection of works from the collection of the late Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen—including a work by Cézanne with an estimate in excess of $120m—are on show at @ChristiesInc London this weekend prior to their sale in New York next month. https://t.co/jcI3Jaz2n9— The Art Newspaper (@TheArtNewspaper) October 15, 2022
1500-1510 The Man of Sorrows by Botticelli
2022 SOLD for $ 45M by Sotheby's
Botticelli's art changed. The time of his signature theme of the Virgin of Tenderness was over. He possibly was not reluctant with the new trend. After the fall of the dictatorship in 1498, Botticelli's studio was sometimes used by his brother for secret meetings of Savonarola's sympathizers.
A mid length life size figure of Christ is typical of that new mood. Botticelli painted it in tempera and oil by canceling a Virgin of Tenderness on a panel 69 x 51 cm.
The main theme is a Man of Sorrows. The iconography of this specific piece goes far beyond up to a global representation of the Passion including Redemption and Resurrection.
The image is blending the human and the divine. The full frontal face has an expression of suffering temperated with a desire to confront and convince. The gaze goes straight to the viewer, just like Leonardo's Salvator Mundi and Dürer's self portrait made at that same period otherwise marked by the fear of a mid-millennium apocalypse.
The divine is represented by the bleeding wounds of the thorns and by the stigmata of the Crucifixion in the hands. The unprecedented move of this unique picture is the replacement of the halo by a circle of angels in grisaille that reluctantly display the instruments of his torture such as the ladder, the scourge and the lance.
There is no similar example known in Christian iconography. We will never know whether the master executed it for his own salvation or for proposing a new theme which still had no follow when he died in 1510.
The painting surfaced in the mid 19th century in a family of famous English actors and was authenticated as an autograph work by Botticelli when it was sold at Sotheby's in 1963. Further studies are now confirming that prestigious attribution. It was sold for $ 45M on January 27, 2022 by Sotheby's, lot 14. Please watch the video shared by the auction house.
1500 Between Last Supper and Mona Lisa
2017 SOLD for $ 450M including premium
The picture shows Christ holding the orb of the world in his left hand and blessing with the raised fingers of his right hand. The mystical message without the divine attribute of the halo competes with the holy shrouds recognized as authentic at his time while adding attitude and gesture. The orb that prophesies the rescue of the world is a reflective crystal ball through which the viewer perceives the palm of the hand.
This painting had belonged to King Charles I of England. It was probably hanging in the private apartments of Queen Henriette who was born in the French royal family. Its previous whereabouts are unknown. A possible hypothesis is a French royal order during the Italian wars. King Louis XII was so impressed by the Last Supper that he wanted to take the wall to France.
The analyzes provided a lot of information on the realization and history of this painting. The perfection of the expression is concentrated in the lips and the gaze, anticipating the Mona Lisa. The mouth was drawn by the technique of pierced drawing used by other great masters of that time including Raphael and Andrea del Sarto. One of the eyes was softened by a spread of color pushed by the wrist of the artist.
Leonardo cared little for the supporting materials. The conservation woes of the Last Supper are famous. The original panel of Salvator Mundi was early split because of a knot in the wood. The accident caused awkward repainting on the face. Anonymous owners then extended these repaints to the point that only peripheral regions including the hands were still visible in their original quality.
All of that has been conscientiously repaired. Fortunately the sfumato remained in very good condition under the disagreeable layers that were removed. This signature Leonardo technique makes it possible to compare the Salvator Mundi with the Mona Lisa which is the culmination of his art. The perfectionist preparation of his paintings could last several years. A date around 1500 is plausible for the Salvator Mundi.
Christ the savior of the world by Leonardo, oil on panel 66 x 46 cm, will be sold by Christie's in New York on November 15, lot 9 B. Please watch the video shared by the auction house.
1911-1912 Woman and Caryatid
2014 SOLD for $ 71M including premium
Brancusi is one of the greatest innovators of sculpture. Reacting against the realistic details of clay and bronze, he is the first to seek beauty through basic and simplified forms that will lead him up to abstraction.
Brancusi and Modigliani find inspiration for their new styles in the antique and African arts. In 1910, Modi draws women topped with a tablette in reference to the Caryatids of the Erechtheion. His series of busts made in 1911 and 1912 will be his temple of art.
Modi is not yet famous. He uses limestone blocks taken from construction sites and carries them in a wheelbarrow to his modest studio in Montparnasse. His heads of women create around him a crowd of pure and stylized faces with the intense force of a tribal ceremony.
On June 14, 2010, a caryatid bust 64 cm high including the cubic base was sold for € 43M including premium by Christie's.
On November 4 in New York, Sotheby's sells a bust, 73 cm high including the base, lot 8. The press release of October 3 is announcing an estimate in excess of $ 45M.
I invite you to play the video shared by Sotheby's :
1917 A Portrait for Fifteen Francs
2018 SOLD for $ 157M including premium
Modigliani was a prolific draftsman. He had learned during his artistic training to draw quickly. Close to the conceptions of the Académie de la Grande Chaumière where he will soon meet Jeanne, he knows how to carry out speedy studies of female nudes in poses where the natural prevails over the conventional.
Zbo organizes paintings of nudes by Modi. He chooses pretty women whom he leads into an apartment-workshop where he has installed Modigliani. The artist is paid 15 francs a day and the model 5 francs for the session.
The rest is easy to imagine. The woman has won her 5 francs and is in a hurry to leave. The artist has little time. His painting is based on a drawing that brings to his best images a great spontaneity. The bare skin partitioned by the lines is painted in a warm color. The woman is lying or sitting on the bed, very simply, without decoration and without narrative effect.
A Nu couché sur le côté, oil on canvas 90 x 147 cm painted in 1917, was sold for $ 27M including premium by Christie's on November 4, 2003. It will be sold by Sotheby's in New York on May 14, lot 18. The press release announces an estimate in excess of $ 150M. It is the largest painting in this series and the only reclining nude by Modigliani to be displayed in all the extent of her arms and legs.
The attitude is not very erotic. The woman is seen from behind. The head turned for looking at the artist and the firmly sealed mouth reveal some impatience.
On November 9, 2015, Christie's sold a 60 x 92 cm Nudo Rosso for $ 170M including premium. This nude reclining on her back dated 1917-1918 seems indeed later by its softer line, an even warmer color and also a friendly attitude of this model who exhibits all her charms in full front.
Please watch the video shared by Sotheby's.
1917 A Nude Woman sitting for Modigliani
2010 SOLD 69 M$ including premium
In 1917, having abandoned the sculpture, Modigliani focuses on the painting of the nude to express his vision of the ideal woman. Sometimes the model is standing or lying, but the woman sitting naked on a couch, known as La Belle Romaine, is undoubtedly one of the best.
This oil on canvas, 100 x 65 cm, shows a woman happy to be watched, confident, intimate. The painter is quite successful, with a purity of line and a warm tone of flesh which is the top of his art. It is illustrated on the press release shared by Artdaily.
Paris was quite prudish at that time, having probably already forgotten the friend women of Toulouse-Lautrec, and the exhibition of Modigliani's nudes at the Galerie Berthe Weill was forbidden for indecency at its opening. Our painting was perhaps one of them. Modigliani, a true great artist, had not deigned considering the academic decorum.
On 20 November 1987, the Parisian art market suddenly started to rise with the fabulous Georges Renand collection. La Belle Romaine, sold 41 MF, tripled the French auction record and leaved for Asia. At the same sale the other Modigliani owned by Renand, a Woman with Black Tie, was sold 34 million francs.
On November 11, 1999, la Belle Romaine is sold for $ 16.8 million including premium by Sotheby's in New York, world record at the time for a Modigliani.
It comes back on November 2 at Sotheby's in New York. The estimate is not published in the catalog but the press release told that it can fetch $ 40M.
POST SALE COMMENT
La Belle Romaine is a masterpiece that transcends all variations of the market. Whenever it appears on the market, its exceptional quality is confirmed. Its latest feat is at $ 69M including premium.
The file below is shared by Wikimedia :
1917-1918 The Ideal of Intimacy
2015 SOLD for $ 170M including premium
In 1917, he found that ideal in the nude. He has no money but that does not mind. His small workshop contains two chairs, a sofa and a bottle of cognac. He is alone with a girl paid by his dealer. Zborowski had a good perception : the girls are pretty. Around them is war. The time is not conducive to shameless exhibits. Modigliani's nudes are a scandal.
Amedeo is a nice guy. He establishes empathy with those anonymous visitors for a day. He expresses tenderness and intimacy better than any other artist. He obtained this effect by a subtle color work. Pink is not warm enough to express the skin: the artist creates rich colors tending to reddish or apricot.
On November 9 in New York, Christie's sells a Nudo Rosso, oil on canvas 60 x 92 cm painted in 1917 or 1918, lot 8A.
This reclining nude is a masterpiece of harmony, similar on that way as the Belle Romaine seated nude that was sold for $ 69M including premium by Sotheby's on November 2, 2010.
The voluptuous curves emphasizes the confidence of the model with her back slightly arched above the couch and her outstretched arms. Eyes without pupils are monochrome, enabling the viewer to better capture the quiet waiting of her gaze. The wild locks on the forehead indicate that this ideal woman is a character from real life and not a model prepared for art.
The press release of September 3 announced a hope beyond $ 100M. Let me add a comment: this superb painting is worth such an expectation.
I invite you to watch the video shared by Christie's.
1919 The Last Hope of Amedeo
2016 SOLD for £ 38.5M including premium
Peace is back. In 1919, Amedeo Modigliani is again able to reveal the ideal woman, as in the time of his sculpted heads of 1911 and 1912. For a long time his weakened health prevents him from cutting the stone. The sensual nudes painted in 1917 and 1918 brought a sinuous outline of the women's body. Warm colors worked with an extreme care provide comfort and kindness that show to which extent the interpretation of that hypersensitive artist as a wild genius is wrong.
The portraits by Amedeo of his intimates are recognizable but they are not realistic because they must represent an absolute. Small in life, Jeanne is tall for Amedeo. Her green eyes become intensely blue to express innocence and fidelity. The arms become more elongated with gestures that are altogether expressive and quiet and above all typically feminine.
On June 21 in London, Sotheby's sells at lot 12 the portrait of Jeanne au foulard (with scarf), oil on canvas 92 x 54 cm painted by Amedeo in 1919. The press release of June 6 announced an expectation beyond £ 28M.
The muse does not laugh : her mouth is again sulky, as in her other portraits. The specificity of this artwork is in the eyes drawn with visible pupils, increasing the emotional presence of the young woman just as if Amedeo had just decided to abandon his signature uniformly blue eyes. This painting could be one of the last portraits of Jeanne.
1919 was a year of great creativity for Modigliani. Here are two results for less empathetic portraits with eyes full of sky : £ 27M including premium by Christie's on February 6, 2013 for Jeanne au chapeau with a protective gesture of the hand ; $ 43M including premium by Sotheby's on November 4, 2015 for Paulette in the stiff attitude of her 15 years old.
Please watch the video shared by Sotheby's (below).
1962 The Two Series of the 250 GTO
2018 SOLD for $ 48M including premium
A team around Giotto Bizzarrini designs a low body with a tapered front hood. To facilitate the homologation, the new chassis has the same size as the SWB. The studies are validated in wind tunnel. The lowered engine remains a 3-liter Colombo V12 while incorporating several improvements from the 250 TR.
Thus was born the 250 GTO at the beginning of 1962. 33 cars are built according to this model. They immediately dominate endurance and hill competitions. However Bizzarrini had left the company after a disagreement with Enzo Ferrari.
The technological challenge goes on. The approval of the 250 LM will be refused. While waiting for better days, Ferrari requires Mauro Forghieri and his team to modify the 250 GTO according to the aerodynamic improvement of the LM. Three 250 GTO Series II are built in 1964.
Four Series I cars are upgraded in 1964 to the Series II specifications. One of them is estimated $ 45M for sale by RM Sotheby's in Monterey on August 25, lot 247. Please watch the video shared by the auction house.
This car was in 1962 the third GTO produced. Tested in May by Phil Hill at the Targa Florio, it is sold by Ferrari a few days later to a friend of Enzo Ferrari, Edoardo Lualdi-Gabardi, who gets excellent results in hill climbing with this car. In April 1964 Corrado Ferlaino leads it to First In Class in the Targa Florio, thus brilliantly validating the transitory concept of the Series II.
The price of a Ferrari 250 GTO depends on its results in period and on its crash history. The car for sale was not damaged. For reasons of preservation, the original engine was removed a few years ago. It is sold with the car.
In May 2018 a price of $ 70M in a private transaction was reported for a 250 GTO with a better race history including the victory at the 1964 Tour de France.