Raphael sketch fetches record 29.7m pounds at auction

Last Updated: Fri, Dec 07, 2012 11:10 hrs

A sketch by Italian painter Raphael was sold for a whopping 29.7 million pounds on Wednesday, setting a record price for any drawing in art history.

The 15 inch by 11 inch 'Head of an Apostle' prompted seventeen minutes of frantic bidding at Sotheby's, almost doubling its pre-sale estimates, the BBC reported.

The 1519 chalk drawing - a study for Raphael's 'Transfiguration' - was part of a private collection held at Chatsworth House, home of the Duke of Devonshire.

In 2009, Raphael's 'Head of a Muse' sold for 29.2 million pounds at Christie's.

Fluctuating exchange rates suggested that Christie's drawing narrowly beat 'Head of an Apostle' in dollar terms, but since both were sold in pounds, in London, Sotheby's is claiming a record.

"If you are lucky, at some point in your career a work like this comes along," Gregory Rubinstein, head of old master drawings at Sotheby's, said.

"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," he said.

Speculation suggests that the winning phone bid came from Russia. (ANI)

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