Titian masterpiece breaks auction record
A 450-year-old work by Italian artist Titian which sold recently in New York broke the auction record for the Renaissance master by a full $5 million.
A Sacra Conversazione: The Madonna and Child with Saints Luke and Catherine of Alexandria was sold at Sotheby’s to a European telephone bidder for $16.9 million.
It beat the previous Titian auction record of $11.9 million paid at Christie’s in London in December 1991 for Venus and Adonis, according to the BBC.
A spokeswoman for Sotheby’s said A Sacra Conversazione was “one of only a handful of multi-figured compositions by Titian that remain in private hands,” according to the BBC, adding the work was “the most important to appear at auction in decades.”
The oil on canvas work – painted around 1560 – had changed hands only six times during its life, according to Sotheby’s and prior to recent exhibitions in London, Paris and Amsterdam, it had not been seen publicly for 30 years.
Titian, born in the Republic of Venice in 1490, was most important member of the 16th-century Venetian school.
He was recognized by his contemporaries as “The Sun Amidst Small Stars,” and was considered one of the most versatile of Italian painters, equally adept with portraits, landscape backgrounds, and mythological and religious subjects.
His painting methods, particularly in the application and use of color, would exercise a profound influence not only on painters of the Italian Renaissance, but on future generations of Western art.