Source AP ©

Rare portrait by Raphael is sold at Christie's auction

A painting by Italian Renaissance artist Raphael not seen for more than 40 years was sold at auction Thursday for 18.5 million pounds (US$37.2 million, 27.4 million EUR).

The portrait of Lorenzo de' Medici, a member of Florence, Italy's ruling family, was sold after being kept for nearly half a century in the private collection of an American art dealer.

Auctioneers at Christie's in London had expected the painting to sell for between 10 million pounds (US$20 million, 15 million EUR) and 15 million pounds (US$30 million, 23 million EUR) pounds.

The portrait was sold to a private collector biding on the telephone.

"There are only a few Raphael paintings that remain in private hands," Christie's spokesman Matthew Paton said. "We probably won't have another Raphael again for a lifetime."

Completed in 1518, two years before Raphael's death, the painting features a finely dressed Lorenzo de' Medici in gold and red brocade with delicate fur trim in front of a dark green background.

Painted on canvas - something Raphael rarely did because he preferred to paint on panels - the portrait is in superb condition, Paton said.

The US is going to ban exports of Iranian oil to the world market from November 5 of this year. In turn, Iran threatens to block the passage of oil tankers of the Gulf countries through the Strait of Hormuz

Will Iran close the Strait of Hormuz to trigger global oil crisis?

The US is going to ban exports of Iranian oil to the world market from November 5 of this year. In turn, Iran threatens to block the passage of oil tankers of the Gulf countries through the Strait of Hormuz

Will Iran close the Strait of Hormuz to trigger global oil crisis?