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Head of a Young Apostle
By Raphael (Raffaello Sanzio)
C 1519-1520
Size: 375 x 278 millimetres (14.75 x 10.88 inches)
Estimated price: £10-15 million

This December, Sotheby’s will offer at auction an exceptional drawing by the Renaissance master Raphael (Raffaello Sanzio, 1483-1520).

Executed in black chalk, Raphael’s Head of an Apostle is a highly important drawing within the artist’s oeuvre: a working, ‘auxiliary cartoon’ for a significant figure from his celebrated The Transfiguration commissioned by Cardinal Giulio de’ Medici in around 1516.

The Transfiguration, regarded by scholars as one of the most important of all Renaissance paintings, effectively defined the visual language that was to underpin Western art for several centuries. This exquisite drawing was made in the final stages of the artist’s creative process, when the composition was already clearly established, and would have been used to explore, on the same scale as in the final painting, the nuances of volume and light.

The drawing comes to sale from one of the greatest Old Master Drawings collections in the world. Acquired at the beginning of the 18th century by William Cavendish, 2nd Duke of Devonshire, this drawing has spent the past three centuries in the Devonshire Collection housed at Chatsworth in Derbyshire. In the last 50 years, only two drawings by Raphael of similar importance have appeared on the market, each of which set an all-time record for an Old Master Drawing when they were sold.

Sotheby’s Evening Sale of Old Master Paintings and Drawings will take place in London on December 5, 2012. 

First published in the Adbuzzzz Section of The DAWN National Weekend Advertiser on October 7, 2012.