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Rodin sculpture once owned by Sylvester Stallone sells for £11.6m

image copyrightSotheby's
image captionAccording to the Rodin Museum, the work suggests a gymnast stretching her limbs

A Rodin sculpture once owned by Rocky star Sylvester Stallone has set a new auction record for the artist.

The "daring" nude sculpture sold for £11.6m after five minutes of bidding, auctioneers Sotheby's said.

The bronze Iris, Messenger of the Gods, is very rare as it was cast during Rodin's lifetime and had been estimated to reach between £6m and £8m.

The previous auction record for a Rodin was set in 2008 when his sculpture of Eve sold in New York for £9.6m.

The Iris sculpture last appeared at auction in 2007 at Sotheby's in London when it sold for £4.6m.

It is one of only two casts made in Rodin's lifetime that are still in private hands. The remaining five are in museums.

Rodin created Iris between 1890 and 1891. The sculpture that sold on Wednesday was cast between 1902 and 1905.

Auguste Rodin died in 1917 at the age of 77.

image copyrightSotheby's
image captionFive lots sold for more than £7m during the sale

Iris is said to be the personification of the rainbow in Greek mythology and was a link between the gods and mankind.

According to the Rodin Museum, the work's explicit pose "aroused not only indignation but also fascination" and "suggests the movements of the French Can-Can and a gymnast stretching her limbs".

Wednesday's sale also saw Pablo Picasso's Tete de femme, a 1935 portrait, sell for £18.9m.

Helena Newman of Sotheby's said there had been a "depth of bidding from a broad international spectrum" during the sale, which saw five lots selling for more than £7m.

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