Botticelli drawing sells for a record £1.3m

image copyrightSotheby’s
image captionStudy for a seated St Joseph dates back to the 1480s

A rare Botticelli drawing has sold for a record £1.3m at a London auction.

Created in the 1480s, the piece - titled Study for a Seated Joseph, his head resting on his right hand - was the first drawing by the artist to be sold for a century.

Sotheby's said it was highest price ever paid for a work on paper by the Renaissance master.

The work was also believed to be the last of his drawings that remained in private hands.

It came from the collection of late philanthropist Barbara Piasecka Johnson, the wife of Johnson and Johnson heir John Seward Johnson, who bought the artwork for $88,000 (£51,300) at a New York auction in 1988.

Study for a Seated St Joseph is believed to be the only drawing which can be clearly linked to one of Botticelli's painted compositions.

The man depicted is a study for The Nativity with adoring St John the Baptist - a circular painting dating from the late 1480s which is at Buscot Park near Faringdon, Oxfordshire.

Aside from an album of illustrations for Dante's Divine Comedy, there are only 12 surviving drawings by Botticelli - all but Study for a Seated St Joseph are in museums.

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