Rare artwork by Botticelli to be displayed in Dubai ahead of $40 million auction

'The Man of Sorrows' will be on display at Sotheby's DIFC on December 12 and 14, before returning to New York

Sandro Botticelli's 'The Man of Sorrows' depicts Jesus Christ and is supposed to represent his suffering and death with a depth and humanity that is the hallmark of the artist's portraiture. Photo: Sotheby's

A rare artwork by renowned Renaissance artist Sandro Botticelli, worth an estimated $40 million, is set to go on display in Dubai next week.

The Man of Sorrows, one of the last works by the Italian artist to remain in private hands, will be on display at Sotheby’s Dubai in DIFC from on December 12 and 14.

The work depicts Jesus Christ and is supposed to represent his suffering and death with a depth and humanity that is the hallmark of Botticelli’s portraiture.

The Man of Sorrows was first recorded in the collection of Adelaide Kemble Sartoris (1814-1879), a famed English opera singer, and descended in the family to her great granddaughter, who sold it at auction in 1963 for $28,000.

Since then, it has remained in the same private collection, practically unseen until its inclusion in a major exhibition devoted to the artist, which took place at the Stadel Museum in Frankfurt between 2009 and 2010.

After being on display in Dubai, the work will return to New York for Sotheby’s annual Masters Week sales series in January 2022, where it will be offered with an estimate in excess of $40m.

The auction follows Sotheby’s record-breaking sale of Botticelli’s Young Man Holding a Roundel in January 2021, which was also exhibited at Sotheby’s Dubai. The painting sold for $92.2 million – making it one of the most valuable portraits of any era ever sold and one of the most valuable Old Master paintings ever sold at auction.

“Bringing this masterpiece by Botticelli to the DIFC, for clients and art lovers to be able to view it in person, is the perfect way to draw the year to a close and continue our pledge to showcase the very best in art history and our international offering,” said Katia Nounou Boueiz, head of Sotheby’s UAE.

Christopher Apostle, Sotheby’s head of Old Master paintings in New York, said: “Until now it would be have been completely unheard of to have two works by Botticelli appear on the market in 12 months – and so to offer this incredible late painting a year after the landmark sale of Young Man Holding a Roundel is a once-in-a-generation phenomenon, and certainly a career highlight.”

Updated: December 6th 2021, 1:37 PM