A painting of Jesus by Italian Renaissance master Sandro Botticelli, one of the artist’s later masterpieces and one of the last to remain in private hands, is expected to sell for more than $40 million when it goes on sale early next year, auction house Sotheby’s said.
“The Man of Sorrows” is a somber portrayal of Jesus after his resurrection, showing him gazing at the viewer with his hands crossed against his chest, scarred with crucifixion wounds.
The painting is believed by art historians to date from between the late 15th and early 16th centuries — only three other Botticelli works completed after 1492 are known to be in private hands, Sotheby’s said.
Auction house experts said the painting is representative of the work Botticelli produced during the last decade of his career, when he began to move beyond Renaissance ideals like humanism and beauty to paint more spiritual works, having been heavily influenced by Dominican friar Girolamo Savonarola’s preaching.
“The Man of Sorrows” has not been on the market since 1963, according to Sotheby’s, when it sold for $28,000 to a private seller by the great granddaughter of famed English opera singer and art collector Adelaide Kemble Sartoris.
The painting was last seen in public in 2010, when it was part of an exhibition on Botticelli in Frankfurt, Germany.
“The Man of Sorrows” will go to auction in January 2022 in New York after being put on display in Hong Kong, Los Angeles, London, and Dubai.
The “The Man of Sorrows” is set to become the second-priciest Botticelli work. Earlier this year, Botticelli’s “Young Man Holding a Roundel” shattered artist records when it sold for $92 million. The previous record for the artist was $10.4 million, the price “The Rockefeller Madonna” went for in 2013. Botticelli’s most famous painting, “The Birth of Venus,” is on display in the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, where the artist spent nearly the entirety of his life in the same neighborhood.