Michelangelo Fetches Record $12 Million

A Michelangelo drawing that inspired his statue of the risen Christ was sold to a German art dealer today for a record price of more than $12 million.

Katrin Bellinger, a dealer based in Munich, made the winning bid of $12,378,500, Christie’s auctioneers said.

That was more than double the pre-sale estimate, and easily exceeded the previous record of $8,767,818 for Raphael’s The Head and Hand of an Apostle, sold in London in 1996.

The previous record price for a Michelangelo work was $7.48 million for Christ and the Woman of Samaria, which sold in New York in 1998.

Expresses Technical Brilliance

The drawing was sold by the estate of Sir Brinsley Ford, who bought it in 1936.

“It is one of the most beautiful and famous drawings to appear at auction since the Second World War and expresses the technical brilliance and power of this master of the Renaissance,” said Noel Annesley, deputy chairman of Christie’s.

“There is only a handful of drawings by Michelangelo left in private hands and this is a superb example.”

The principal drawing is a three-quarter-length nude figure. There are also studies of the legs and of the larger figure.

The drawing was the inspiration for the marble statue of the risen Christ, commissioned in 1514 for the Church of Santa Maria sopra Minerva in Rome. It was the only statue Michelangelo completed in the three decades after he painted the Sistine Chapel, Christie’s said.