Rubens drawing breaks auction record with $8.2M sale

"Nude Study of a Young Man With Raised Arms" was a preparation drawing for a larger altarpiece called "The Raising of the Cross." Image by Peter Paul Rubens/Sotheby's

Jan. 31 (UPI) — The sale of a 17th century drawing by Peter Paul Rubens sold at auction for $8.2 million dollars Wednesday, setting a new record for the Flemish artist, Sotheby’s New York announced.

The drawing, “Nude Study of a Young Man With Raised Arms,” was expected to sell for $2.5 million to $3.5 million, but “intense competition” between two bidders drove up the price during an auction of old master drawings, Sotheby’s said.

The drawing previously belonged to King William II of the Netherlands and was passed down privately through his family. The 19 3/8-inch by 12 3.8-inch drawing was completed in black chalk in 1608.

Rubens made the drawing as a study for a larger altarpiece called “The Raising of the Cross.”

“Created at such an important moment in the artist’s life, there was a real sense of immediacy to this drawing — a sense of looking over the artist’s shoulder as he works,” said Gregory Rubinstein, head of Sotheby’s old master drawings department. “It’s been a real privilege to spend time with this drawing, which has captivated the imagination of all who saw it.”

The previous record for a Rubens drawing was $5.5 million at a 2014 auction.


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