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Two rare studies of Leonardo da Vinci’s ‘The Last Supper’ are going up for auction-EnglishHindiBlogs-News

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written by Jackie Palumbo, CNN

Two chalk and pastel studies of Leonardo da Vinci’s “The Last Supper,” which once belonged to a 19th-century Dutch king, will be up for auction next month.

Portraits of the heads of St. John the Evangelist and St. James, each seated to the left of Jesus Christ in the famous fresco in Milan, part of a Sotheby’s of London sales Dedicated to the master works on paper on 6 July.

Attributed to Leonardo’s assistant, Giovanni Antonio Boltrafio, each 25-by-18.5-inch drawing, made to be the actual size of the figures in the painting, is estimated to sell for up to £120,000 ($146,500) each.

A chalk and pastel study depicting the head of St. James the Lace, attributed to Giovanni Antonio Boltrafio. Credit: Sotheby’s London

Experts aren’t exactly sure why the studies were carried out, but said the large-scale drawings are “extremely rare”, according to Christiana Romalli, a senior specialist in Old Master drawing at Sotheby’s.

Part of a series of 11 similar studies of the apostles depicted in “The Last Supper”, the collection was once owned by the famous English painter Thomas Lawrence as well as King William II of the Netherlands, before they were separated and their Organized by. Many museums, galleries and private hands. This pair of drawings was last sold as separate lots at Christie’s in 2005, fetching $96,000 for St. John’s and $57,600 for St. James.

Since then, “there’s nothing like it on the market,” Romalli said in a phone interview from London.

“The Last Supper” was painted between 1495 and 1498 and became an iconographic work of the Italian Renaissance. It depicts Jesus when he announces that one of his twelve disciples will betray him, prompting the expressive reactions of his most ardent followers. Leonardo pinpoints the criminal, Judas, by painting his face in the shadows.

visitors take pictures "last meal" ,"il cencolo" either "l'ultima cena"), Italian artist Leonardo da Vinci's late 15th century frescoes placed by ref of the Convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie in Milan on May 8, 2019.

Visitors take photographs of “The Last Supper” (“Il Cenacolo” or “L’Ultima Cena”), a late 15th-century mural by Italian artist Leonardo da Vinci kept by the referee of the Convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie in Milan Picture. 8 May 2019. Credit: Miguel Medina / AFP / Getty Images

The iconic tableau, which attracted hundreds of thousands of visitors annually before the pandemic, is on display at the convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie in Milan, Italy. But because of its deteriorating condition, it is subject to ongoing conservation efforts.

Leonardo used an experimental dry fresco technique, which made the surface fragile and likely to flake soon after its completion. It has since endured poor environmental conditions and numerous restoration efforts over the centuries and was nearly destroyed during the bombing of the church during World War II. According to Sotheby’s, early copies of Leonardo’s assistants are “a priceless indication of what the original masterpiece would have looked like.”

Christie’s employees pose in front of a painting titled Salvator Mundi by Italian polymath Leonardo da Vinci at a photocall at Christie’s auction house in central London on October 22, 2017 before its sale in New York at Christie’s on November 15, 2017.

Romalli said that the paintings attributed to Boltrafio are “unusual” for their size and use of color.

“They are rather big works to be on paper… so it makes them very appealing,” she explained. “And then pastel colors — not something you see very often. Leonardo started using colored chalk in Italy, but it’s something that came from France.”

Two paintings from a set of 11 studies, one featuring the infamous Head of Judas, remain in the collection of the Eckland Art Museum in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, though as the work of an unknown artist. And in London, the Royal Academy of Arts holds a full painted copy of the fresco, believed to be the work of Boltrafio and a second assistant, Giampietrino.

Boltrafio made a career of his own, attracting patrons and earning commissions, including Virgin and Child scenes, for a chapel near Bologna called the “Pala Cassio” in 1500, which is now housed in the Louvre Museum in Paris. Although he was an artist who began “entirely under Leonardo’s wing”, Romalli said, “he was able to develop something for himself.”

Top Image Caption: St John the Evangelist, with the profile to the left of St Peter’s head, a study attributed to Giovanni Antonio Boltrafio.

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