Leonardo da Vinci’s Head of a Bear, offered as the leading lot in the Exceptional Sale held this evening (8th July) at Christie’s London, realised £8,857,500 against a presale estimate of £8,000,000-12,000,000. The result sets a new world record for a drawing by the artist. The previous record for a drawing by Leonardo da Vinci offered at auction was the Horse and Rider, also sold at Christie’s in 2001 for £8,143,750 ($11,481,865).
This penetrating study of a bear’s head, one of less than eight surviving drawings by Leonardo still in private hands outside of the British Royal Collection and the Devonshire Collections at Chatsworth, and measuring 2 ¾ x 2 ¾ inches (7 x 7 cm), is executed in silverpoint on a pale pink-beige prepared paper, a technique which Leonardo was taught by his master Andrea del Verrocchio.
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