Raphael drawing sells for £29m

A drawing by Italian artist Raphael has fetched a record £29 million at auction.

The black chalk piece, called Head Of A Young Apostle, became the most expensive work on paper as it sold for almost three times its estimated price at auction, Sotheby's said.

It had been part of a collection at the Duke of Devonshire's Chatsworth House stately home in Derbyshire since the 1700s.

Originally believed to be worth £10 million-£15 million, the artwork sold for £29.7 million after an intense battle between four bidders over 17 minutes.

After the winning bid came in over the telephone, Sotheby's London auction room erupted in a round of applause.

Gregory Rubinstein, worldwide head of Old Master drawings at Sotheby's, said "If you are lucky, at some point in your career a work like this comes along.

"A number of the world's greatest collectors stepped up tonight in recognition of the genius of Raphael and the extraordinary beauty of this drawing with its exceptional provenance."

The work, known as an auxiliary cartoon and dating from circa 1519-20, was a preparation drawing for a figure in Raphael's Transfiguration.

Considered one of the most important paintings of the Renaissance, Transfiguration is hung in Rome's Vatican Museum.

The final price of £29.7 million includes Sotheby's commission, known as buyer's premium.

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