Christie’s London announced on May 21, 2007 that Lorenzo de’ Medici (1518), a portrait of sound provenance by renowned Italian Renaissance master Raffaello Sanzio, called Raphael (1483-1520), will be available for purchase as part of its Important Old Master and British Pictures auction on Thursday, July 5, 2007. On display at the esteemed auction house’s King Street salerooms, beginning June 30, will be Raphael’s painting, one of a handful by the artist still privately held. Owned by Ira Spanierman since 1968, issues of the work’s attribution to Raphael were tackled by Sir Charles Robinson (1824-1913) and firmly resolved in 1971 by the prolific Konrad Oberhuber, former director of Vienna’s Albertina Museum. The masterpiece is expected to garner up to ?15 million at auction. Lorenzo de’ Medici was last exhibited publicly more than 40 years ago.Interest in Raphael’s works and Medicean portraiture has escalated in the wake of three recent special exhibitions: Splendor of Florence at Wall Street’s Federal Hall National Memorial (October 1-November 12, 2004); Raphael: From Urbino to Rome (October 24, 2004-January 16, 2005) at London’s National Gallery and Raphael at the Met: The Colonna Altarpiece at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art (June 20-September 3, 2006).
Lorenzo di Piero de’ Medici (Lorenzo II) (1492-1519) was the grandson of Lorenzo de’ Medici, il Magnifico (the Magnificent) (1449-1492), the Florentine Republic’s ingenious statesman, supporter of the Neoplatonic Academy and patron of the arts. He was also the nephew of Giovanni di Lorenzo de’ Medici (1475-1521), eventually elected Pope Leo X (r. 1513-21). Lorenzo II’s uncle is best remembered for granting Cardinal Albrecht of Brandenburg (1490-1545) permission to sell indulgences (remissions from the temporal punishment in purgatory for sins already absolved by the Church) in the lands within his jurisdiction.