'Rockefeller Madonna' by Botticelli fetches $10.4 million

'Rockefeller Madonna' by Botticelli fetches $10.4 million
A detail from the Botticelli painting "Madonna and Child with Young Saint John the Baptist." The work sold for $10.4 million at a Christie's auction in New York on Wednesday. (Christie's)

A Renaissance-era panel by the artist Botticelli depicting the Virgin Mary, baby Jesus and a young John the Baptist sold for $10.4 million at a Christie's auction in New York on Wednesday. The work was labeled the "Rockefeller Madonna" by the auction house because it was once owned by John D. Rockefeller Jr.

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The sale was part of a larger sale of Renaissance work that brought in a total of $42.6 million. The Botticelli work was estimated to sell for $5 million to $7 million. The piece, which is formally titled " Madonna and Child with Young Saint John the Baptist," has changed hands many times, most recently in 1992.

Christie' on its website said the piece was most likely created in the early 1490s. Botticelli, whose real name was Alessandro Filipepi, was a Florentine artist whose best known creation is "The Birth of Venus."

The $10.4 million for the panel was reportedly an auction record for the Renaissance artist. The work traveled to Hong Kong last year in order to stoke interest among Asian art collectors.

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