This article was updated with the final sale price and other details following the auction’s conclusion.
Measuring less than 8 square inches, the item is one of only eight Leonardo drawings left in private hands, according Christie’s, the auction house behind the sale.
The sketch was made on pale pink-beige paper using silverpoint, a technique — taught to Leonardo by his master, Andrea del Verrocchio — that involves marking chemically treated paper with silver rods or wire.
In a press statement following Thursday’s sale, the international head of Christie’s Old Master drawings department, Stijn Alsteens, described the work as “small but magnificent.” He added that it “will undoubtedly be one of the last drawings by Leonardo to ever come to the market.”
The drawing went on display in Hong Kong and London prior to Thursday’s sale. Credit: Courtesy Christie’s Images Ltd
The drawing, which includes the artist’s signature, was initially expected to fetch up to £12 million ($16.82 million). It eventually sold at the lower end of the estimate, at around £8.9 million ($12.2 million).
Notable previous owners include painter Sir Thomas Lawrence and art collector Captain Norman Robert Colville.
Master of anatomy
While Leonardo is best known for oil paintings like the “Mona Lisa” and “The Last Supper,” the Renaissance master was also celebrated for his anatomical sketches. His drawing “The Vitruvian Man,” a mathematically precise rendering of a nude male, is hailed as one of his greatest accomplishments.
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