‘Man of Sorrows’: Famous New York auction house expects unique ‘Jesus’ painting to sell for $40 million

New York auction house Sotheby’s predicts that a painting of Jesus Christ by Sandro Botticelli will sell for more than $40 million next week.

The painting titled “The Man of Sorrows” shows an image of Christ with shoulder-length light brown hair. He wears a crown of thorns. A cross can be seen centered atop his head, which is surrounded by 10 angels.

“This photo is absolutely one of the highlights of the week. It’s by Sandro Botticelli,” said Christopher Apostle, senior vice president of Sotheby’s New York. “He’s an artist, of course, we all know that even if you had very little art history, you know Sandra Botticelli, the Primavera, the Birth of Venus are iconic. You can find them when you go to Florence on mugs, on aprons and all, but that’s something everyone really knows.”

“So to have a painting of him up for public auction and available to add to your collection is a really exciting and unique event,” he added.

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According to Apostle, Botticelli painted “The Man of Sorrows” late in his career, around 1500 to 1505, and is rather unique in his portrayal of Christ.

“It’s Christ as a Man of Sorrows,” he said.

“But what’s unusual is this device, this invention that Botticelli uses of these designs which are gray and white angels, not without color around his head almost like a halo, in fact, not almost, like a halo “, explained Apostle. “Each one holds a different tool of the, of the, of the Passion. So you have the nails with which Christ was nailed to the cross. You have the flail with which he was whipped. You have the ladder with which he was taken down the cross, so this is kind of an amazing and amazing idea and image that reminds you of all the stages of the Passion of Christ.

“We estimate it should bring in over $40 million,” Sotheby’s senior vice president told The Associated Press.

Close-up on “The Man of Sorrows” by Sandro Botticelli. (screen credit: Associated Press)

Apostle said in the painting, Botticelli plays with time and with temporality.

“You see Christ both before and after the crucifixion. He is therefore bound by the crown of thorns as he was represented by Pilate to the people of Jerusalem, the crowd,” he interpreted. “But then you also have the stigmata in his hand and in his side, and he puts his hand in the wound in his side to remind you that that was part of the passion. But that’s also after that happens. is therefore outside of time, this representation of Christ, which is, I think, very important for Botticelli to show timelessness, to show that Christ, while being human, is also outside of any temporal constraint.”

The painting has been in a private family collection since 1963.

Paintings of Christ have become a rare commodity in the art world in recent years.

As CBN News reported in 2017, a painting of Jesus Christ by famed artist Leonardo da Vinci fetched a record $450 million.

Close-up photo of Leonardo da Vinci’s ‘Salvator Mundi’ painting which sold for $450 million in 2017. (Image credit: Associated Press)

This painting is titled “Salvator Mundi”, which means “Savior of the World”. It was painted by da Vinci in the late 1400s.

Since then it has traded hands all over the world from King Charles I of England, all the way to Louisiana in 2005 where a group of art dealers paid less than $10,000 for the painting which needed repairs. Dealers embarked on a six-year journey to restore the painting and document its authenticity.

The once-lost da Vinci is believed to be one of only 16 known surviving paintings by the great artist. It “depicts Jesus raising his right hand in blessing and holding a crystal orb, meant to represent the world, in his left”.

But the exorbitant price of his painting may not have pleased Vinci. Art historian Kenneth Clark was quoted by BeliefNet at the time of its sale as saying that da Vinci “opposed the commercial exploitation of relics, religious art and pious objects”. He quotes da Vinci as saying, “I see Christ once more being sold and crucified and his saints martyred.”

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