LONDON (AP) — One of the most significant drawings by Italian master Raphael in private hands has sold for 29.7 million pounds ($47.8 million) in London, smashing pre-sale estimates for the black chalk work.
"Head of an Apostle" was expected to fetch between 10 million pounds and 15 million pounds, and Sotheby's auction house said Wednesday's sale set a record for any work on paper sold at auction.
Sotheby's said the winning bid was placed over the phone following an intense battle among four bidders.
"Head of an Apostle" was created in preparation for Raphael's Biblical painting "The Transfiguration," which hangs in the Vatican Museum in Rome.
Sotheby's Old Master expert Cristiana Romalli said it revealed Raphael, who died in 1520, "as very possibly the greatest master of drawing who has ever lived."