A rediscovered Raphael drawing is presented by Dorotheum.

On 25th October 2023, Dorotheum will present a rediscovered work on paper by Raffaello Sanzio, also known as Raphael, at their Old Masters Auction. The sketch, depicting a horse and rider, is one of the few known drawings by the High Renaissance master from his late period and is a preparatory study for a part of the fresco of the Battle of the Milvian Bridge in the Hall of Constantine in the Vatican.

Dorotheum’s Old Master specialist Mark MacDonnell said: “Compositional and stylistic details confirm that this is a preparatory study by Raphael for the celebrated fresco. It has an energy, a verve, a movement, and a quality which make this sheet an outstanding rarity”.

The study is especially significant due to its role within one of the most ambitious artistic projects of the 16th century, the decoration of the papal apartments in the Vatican, known collectively as the ‘Raphael Rooms’. The sketch is one of only three surviving drawings for this fresco by the master’s hand, the other two being in the Louvre and the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford. It was previously attributed to Rubens but is now recognised to be the work of Raphael through comparative analysis of technique and composition.

An auction result in excess of a million euros is expected for the drawing, providing fresh insight into Raphael’s working practice. Sadly, Raphael did not live to see the completion of the fresco as he died in 1520, and his pupil Giulio Romano took over the final painting.

More information and a video can be found on the Dorotheum website.

Derick is an experienced reporter having held multiple senior roles for large publishers across Europe. Specialist subjects include small business and financial emerging markets.

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