What Lies Underneath Botticelli’s Master Painting

London | 3 July 2024

O nce in the Rothschild collection, this animated painting of The Virgin and Child is a characteristic late work by Alessandro di Mariano Filipepi, called Botticelli, and his studio. It last appeared at auction in the Arts of the Renaissance sale held at Sotheby’s in 2001.

Infrared scanning has exposed the original sketch, showcasing slight yet significant deviations from the final masterpiece. Indeed, more recent opinions on the picture’s authorship have also been favourable, with some scholars considering it very likely executed in large part, if not entirely, by the master himself. These differences highlight Botticelli's creative process, illustrating that even great masters reimagine their work during creation.

Sotheby’s London will present The Virgin and Child as a part of the live Old Master & 19th Century Paintings Evening Auction on 3 July 2024 at 19:00 BST.

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