Paris auction house puts Botticelli artwork on public display for the first time in over 100 years

‘Madonna of the Pomegranate’ by Sandro Botticelli. — Picture courtesy of Galerie des Offices
‘Madonna of the Pomegranate’ by Sandro Botticelli. — Picture courtesy of Galerie des Offices

PARIS, NOV 11 — On November 29, auctioneer Audap & Mirabaud will sell a panel painted by one of the Italian Renaissance masters, Sandro Botticelli, at the Hôtel Drouot auction house in Paris, France.

A veritable masterpiece of 15th-century Italian art, Madonna of the Pomegranate, painted by Botticelli and his atelier, will go under the hammer November 29 at the French capital’s Hôtel Drouot auction house. This panel (painted on wood) was inspired by Botticelli’s “tondo” (a circular work of art) titled Madonna of the Pomegranate, today held in the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, Italy. Painted in 1487, the tondo was ordered by Florence magistrates to decorate a room in the Palazzo Vecchio.

After the artwork went on public display, Botticelli received several orders for smaller replicas, for worship or adulation. Today, only three such replicas are known to remain.

The work is exceptional in the quality of its rendition, but also in the detail of the faces, probably painted by Botticelli in person.

Before coming to Hôtel Drouot, the panel has been part of two major art collections since the 19th century. It first of all belonged to Frederick Richards Leyland, a British artist and art collector who believed it was painted by Fra Filippo Lippi, of whom Botticelli was a pupil.

Then, the work belonged to the collection of Édouard Aynard, president of the acquisition committee for museums in the French city of Lyon, and patron of the city’s Beaux-Arts museum. Before his death, the panel was exhibited a final time in 1913 when his collection was disbanded. It was then acquired by the current owner’s grandfather.

The artwork will be exhibited November 28 and 29 in Room 1 at the Hôtel Drouot auction house in Paris. — AFP-Relaxnews

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