Painted at the end of the 15th century, the masterpiece 'Young Man Holding A Medallion', by the legendary Florentine artist Sandro Botticelli, was sold on January 28 in New York for 92.2 million US dollars.

Starting with a presale estimate of 80 million US dollars, the auction organized by Sotheby's fell short of the expectation to make a 100 million US dollars.

The painting is one of about a dozen Borricelli portraits that have survived the time. His large works, such as 'Birth Of Venus' and 'Primavera', can still be seen at the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, Italy.

The January 28 auction was carried out using telephone calls and Internet messages, on account of the pandemic restrictions. The organizers have so far not revealed the identity of the buyer.

'Young Man Holding A Medallion' was previously bought for 1.3 million US dollars by its former, also unidentified, owner at an auction in 1982.

Art experts have always maintained that Botticelli's masterpieces represent the refinement of Florentine high society during the Renaissance period. The medallion in the young man's hand shows the face of a saint much revered by the Italians of the era.

However, all these details bring us to an even more exciting topic : which are the other most expensive art pieces ever sold in the world?

Naturally, we cannot include in this list all famous paintings owned by the museums for the simple reason that museums never intend to sell them. So let us just call them 'priceless'. Top of the list could be Lenardo da Vinci's 'Mona Lisa' at the Louvre Museum in Paris, assessed nevertheless by art traders at more than 850 million US dollars.

To this we could also add 'Vase With Fifteen Sunflowers' by Vincent Van Gogh, who was able to sell only one painting during his lifetime - 'The Red Vineyard' that brought him seven francs, making him able to eat his dinner.

After being sold high prices a number of times, today the latter canvas id part of the collection of the Pushkin Museum in Moscow and is considered another priceless art piece.

'Vase With Fifteen Flowers' was. on the other hand, auctioned in 1987 at 95 million US dollars, in today's value.

Add to this list the sale, at Christie's auction in London in 1985, of Andrea Mantegna's 'Adoration Of The Magi', which was bought by the J. PaulGetty Museum in Los Angeles, California, for 19.3 millions UK pounds.

Exactly 18 years earlier, the National Gallery of Art in London got hold of da Vinei's 'Genevra de' Benci', a property belonging to the princely family of Liechtenstein at the time, for 38 million US dollars.

Then there are some other stunning examples Da Vinci's 'Salvatore Mundi' as bought at Christie's auction in New York in 2017 by Prince Badr bin Abdullah of Abu Dhabi for 450.3 million US dollars, the highest price ever paid for an artwork.

This publishing and list could go on and on, but let us remain content with the fact that though museums and galleries all closed all over the world at the moment, moneymaking through art has not come to a halt.

The World Students Society thanks author  Art Critic Zafar Masud, Paris, France.


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