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Raphael drawing smashes record for fetching $58.3m at London auction

Published on Dec 6, 2012 6:35 AM
In this file picture taken on Nov 30, 2012, members of staff pose with a drawing by Italian artist Raphael entitled Head of an Apostle at Sotheby's auction house in central London. Head of an Apostle fetched 29.7 million pounds (S$58.3 million) at auction in London on Dec 5, 2012. -- PHOTO: AFP

LONDON (AFP) - A drawing by Italian Renaissance master Raphael fetched 29.7 million pounds (S$58.3 million) at a London sale on Dec 5, a record for any work on paper sold at auction.

Following a battle between four bidders, the hammer eventually came down at Sotheby's auction house on a bid cast by telephone, making Head of an Apostle (circa 1519 to 1520) the second most expensive Old Master artwork.

"If you are lucky, at some point in your career a work like this comes along", said Mr Gregory Rubinstein, Worldwide Head of Old Master Drawings at Sotheby's. "A number of the world's greatest collectors stepped up tonight in recognition of the genius of Raphael and the extraordinary beauty of this drawing with its exceptional provenance."

The drawing, executed in black chalk, depicts one of the key figures in Raphael's Transfiguration, one of the most important Renaissance paintings.

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