In Christie’s ‘The Exceptional Sale’ this afternoon (8th July), a small drawing of a bear’s head by Leonardo da Vinci goes under the hammer. The estimate puts the lot at between £8million and £12million (€14million).
A small drawing of a bear’s head by Leonardo da Vinci goes under the hammer at Christie’s in London today. It could make up to £12million (€14million).
Entitled ‘Head of a Bear’, the small work only measures seven by seven centimetres. However, estimates expect it to beat the current record for a da Vinci drawing set in 2001. That was £8.1million for the ‘Horse and Rider’.
Bear’s head drawing’s provenance
The drawing belonged to the painter and collector Sir Thomas Lawrence, who sold it via Christie’s in 1860 for £2.50.
Christie’s describe the drawing as follows.
“An exquisite demonstration of Leonardo da Vinci’s unsurpassed mastery as a draughtsman and of his ground-breaking attitude towards the study of nature, this penetrating study of a bear’s head is one of a very small number of drawings by him still in private hands. The drawing was executed in silverpoint on a pale prepared paper, an incisive and demanding technique which Leonardo was taught in his youth by his master Andrea del Verrocchio, the leading artist in Florence at the time.”
In 2017 Leonardo’s attributed ‘Salvator Mundi’ painting sold in New York for a record $450 million (€381 million). That remains the highest price ever paid at auction for a work of art.