A Da Vinci portray the estimate of a Post-It Note fair sold at a Christie’s sell off for $12 million

Would you pay over $12 million for a drawing the size of a Post-It Note? The answer for one art buyer was a resounding affirmative.

The drawing was an adumbration from Leonardo da Vinci, and one of the infrequent sketches from the Italian Renaissance master to hit the auction floor in the last 20 years. Titled “Head of a Bear,” the piece was engendered utilizing a technique called silverpoint, which involves artists employing a thin, silver wire held on a makeshift stylus to make etchings on paper.

This diminutive 2.7-by-2.7-inch sketch was auctioned off for $12.2 million to an unknown buyer at Christie’s London on July 8, under the auction house’s “The Exceptional Sale.” Christies did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Insider on the identity of the piece’s buyer. “The drawing was executed in silverpoint on a pale prepared paper, an incisive and authoritatively mandating technique which Leonardo was edified in his youth by his master Andrea del Verrocchio, the leading artist in Florence at the time,” Christie’s indited in the piece’s auction listing. Christies noted that its minute size aside, the adumbration is “an exquisite demonstration of Leonardo da Vinci’s unsurpassed mastery as a draftsman and of his ground-breaking posture towards the study of nature.”

According to the auction house, “Head of a Bear” is one of fewer than eight drawings by da Vinci that are still in private hands and not in the possession of museums. The auction house additionally noted that the piece had a “distinguished provenance,” having antecedently been in the private amassment of British portrait painter and collector of old master drawings, Sir Thomas Lawrence. Fascinatingly, the adumbration was sold at Christie’s way back in 1860 for just 2.50 pounds ($3.40), identically tantamount to around 311 pounds ($428) today. “I am delectated that this masterpiece, one of the most paramount works from the Renaissance still in private hands, has once again been entrusted to Christie’s after its first sale in 1860,” verbally expressed Ben Hall, chairman of the old master paintings department at Christie’s Incipient York in a press release. “It has been venerated around the world whilst shown by prestigious museums, and Christie’s is accoladed to bring this Leonardo to the market this season.”

Da Vinci’s drawings are infrequently ever auctioned. The last one visually perceived at an auction was “Horse and Rider,” a 4.72-by-3.06-inch silverpoint study of a horse between two trees. This piece was sold at Christie’s back in 2001 for $11.2 million. Yet this is far from the highest price a da Vinci masterpiece has fetched at auction. In 2017, the painter’s “Salvatore Mundi” (or “Savior of the World”), a portrait of Jesus Christ engendered around 1500, was sold for $450.3 million at Christie’s in Incipient York City. This is to date the most extravagant piece of art ever sold in an auction.

July 16, 2021 | 8:20 pm