A painting by legendary 17th century Spanish artist Diego Velazquez has been sold at auction for a staggering EUR 4.27 million.
The remarkably preserved oil painting ‘Retrato de caballero’ (‘Portrait of a Gentleman’) is believed to have been made between 1621 and 1623.
It has been attributed to legendary Spanish artist Diego Rodriguez de Silva y Velazquez, who was baptised in Seville in 1559 and who died in Madrid in 1660.
Velazquez is considered the leading artist of the Spanish Golden Age, which followed Spain’s enrichment by treasure from the Americas.
An artist of the Baroque period, his most famous work is ‘Las Meninas’ (‘The Ladies-in-waiting’), completed in 1656 and on display at Madrid’s famed Prado Museum.
Art expert Richard de Willermin had described the upcoming auction as “the last chance in the world to buy a Velazquez”.
When news of the auction broke last month, Gonzalo Mora, the director of Abalarte International Auctions in Madrid, declined to reveal the starting price.
But it has now been revealed that the painting sold to an unnamed collector yesterday (Wednesday, 2nd March) for EUR 3.5 million (GBP 2.9 million).
Including fees, its total price rises to EUR 4.27 million (GBP 3.54 million).
Its starting price had been set at EUR 2.5 million (GBP 2.1 million) and the successful bidder was one of two collectors who battled it out for the painting via phone.
The painting is listed on Spain’s heritage register and, as such, is not allowed to be exported out of the country.
The sold artwork measures 32 by 23.3 centimetres and depicts a face and bust on a dark background.
Though famed art historian Alfonso Perez Sanchez attributed it to Velazquez, others believe it may, in fact, be the work of two different artists.