Last Botticelli painting in private hand being auctioned off at Frieze Master

Sandro Botticelli, ‘Portrait of Michele Marullo' (circa 1500) — Picture courtesy of Trinity Fine Art via AFP-Relaxnews
Sandro Botticelli, ‘Portrait of Michele Marullo' (circa 1500) — Picture courtesy of Trinity Fine Art via AFP-Relaxnews

LONDON, Sept 15 — The piece, entitled “Portrait of Michele Marullo,” will be up for sale in October at the Frieze Masters fair in London.

This portrait of 15th-century Latin poet Michele Marullo Tarcaniota will be offered at the art fair in a single-work booth by London dealership Trinity Fine Art, which billed it as the last Botticelli in private hands outside of Italy.

Over the past decade, the work has been on view at the Museo Nacional del Prado in Spain, on loan from the private collection of the Cambó family.

It was also exhibited at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, as well as in other major international museums.

According to Art Newspaper, Trinity Fine Art expects “Portrait of Michele Marullo” to fetch more than US$30 million (RM125 million), likely setting a new auction record for the Italian Old Master.

In 2013, another portrait by Botticelli, commonly referred to as “Rockefeller Madonna,” was auctioned for a timid US$10.6 million at Christie’s New York.

This price is far from the groundbreaking US$450 million reached by Leonardo da Vinci’s “Salvator Mundi” in 2017, reflecting uncertainty about how much of “Rockefeller Madonna” was painted by Botticelli’s workshop assistants.

Trinity Fine Art has pointed out that, unlike previous works by the Renaissance master, “Portrait of Michel Marullo” was executed entirely by Botticelli’s hand.

The monochromatic head-and-shoulders portrait is believed to have been commissioned by Marullo’s wife, Alessandra Scala, soon after his accidental death by drowning in 1500 — although its exact date remains uncertain.

Botticelli’s “Portrait of Michel Marullo” will be offered in October during Frieze Master fair in London, which will take place from October 3 through 6.

Additional information can be found on a dedicated website created by Trinity Fine Art for the sale. — AFP-Relaxnews

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