Michelangelo’s nude paintings cost more than 23 million euros

ParisMichelangelo’s painting of a naked man and two figures behind him sold for 23.2 million euros.

A nude man (after Masaccio) and two figures behind him is the only work in the session Michelangelo’s First Nude: A Drawing Rediscovered took place on 18/5. According to Christie’sfor the first time since 1907, an auction selling only one work appeared on the market.

Michelangelo painted the work in his youth, based on the fresco The Baptism of the Neophytes by Masaccio in the church of Santa Maria del Carmine in Florence, which he loved. The artist makes a difference and presents a vision of the beauty of the human body when portraying the main character – a trembling man – with a strong, muscular body. He shows sophistication by shifting the position of the feet, the head is straight, the whole weight of the body is concentrated on the back and buttocks. The muscular body later also became one of the highlights of Michelangelo’s works.

The artist paints two more men, in a sketch style, with vivid expressions in the background, unrelated to Masaccio’s painting.

“A nude man (after Masaccio) and two figures behind him” in brown ink on paper, size 33×20 cm. Image: Christie’s

According to The Value, the figure of 23.2 million euros (576 billion dong) does not represent the value of the picture. To date, most of Michelango’s artwork is kept in museums, a few are in private hands, so it rarely appears at auction. “What’s on the market is often sketches, preparatory studies for major works of art. This explains why Michelango’s auction record isn’t as impressive as his reputation.” The Value identify. Before that, the nude picture The Risen Christ by the artist sold for $10 million in 2000.

Introducing Michelangelo's paintings

“A nude man (after Masaccio) and two figures behind him” in brown ink on paper, size 33×20 cm. Image: Christie’s

Christie’s says the work was purchased in 1794 by Modesto art collector Ignazio Bonaventura Luigi Genevosio along with several other drawings. In 1803, the painting was sold to the Borghese family. The work then continues to change hands in a private transaction. In 1907, the pianist Alfred Cortot bought it at the auction of Hôtel Drouot in Paris. He stamped in black, handwritten “number 16” in black ink on the back of the work. The painting was in private hands until 2019 when Christie’s was asked to price a collection in France. Dr. Furio Rinaldi – expert on 15th and 16th century Italian drawings – confirmed the work by Michelangelo. Paul Joannides, emeritus professor of Art History at the University of Cambridge, and many art researchers have come to the same conclusion.

Forbes reported that after being discovered, the French government declared the painting a national treasure, in order to ban its sale abroad for a period of 30 months, giving museums the opportunity to buy it back. Past the deadline, the government revoked and authorized the sale of the work without any restrictions to collectors around the globe.

Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni (1475-1564) was an Italian painter, poet, sculptor, and master architect. He was one of the leading figures of the Renaissance, a period of cultural and academic revival that marked the end of the Middle Ages. He was the first Western artist to have a biography published during his lifetime. Contemporaries often called him Il Divino (the sublime).

A series of famous works of the artist such as the painting on the ceiling of the Sistine church, the sculpture of David, the masterpiece Pietà (Our Lady of Sorrows), the statue of Jesus crucified…

Understanding Humans


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