Masterpiece Stories

We Need To Talk Why This Is The Most Expensive Painting Of All Times

Zuzanna Stańska 7 July 2016 min Read

What is the most expensive painting of all times? Of course it is The Sistine Madonna by the Renaissance master, Raphael Santi. You’re shocked, aren’t you? Not a van Gogh? Not a Picasso, not a Gauguin? Some Madonna with Child? Why?

The most expensive painting of all times. Raphael Santi, Sistine Madonna, 1513, Gemäldegalerie Alter Meister Dresden
The most expensive painting of all times. Raphael Santi, Sistine Madonna, 1513, Gemäldegalerie Alter Meister Dresden

Well, for many the [easyazon_link identifier=”B01ESY40G8″ locale=”US” tag=”dailyartdaily-20″]Sistine Madonna[/easyazon_link] was hypnotising. [easyazon_link identifier=”0140441182″ locale=”US” tag=”dailyartdaily-20″]Friedrich Nietzsche[/easyazon_link] called her “the vision of the future wife” – that’s actually quite a funny one. [easyazon_link identifier=”1534928715″ locale=”US” tag=”dailyartdaily-20″]Johann Wolfgang Goethe[/easyazon_link] revered her as the “queen of all mankind.” [easyazon_link identifier=”0679772871″ locale=”US” tag=”dailyartdaily-20″]Thomas Mann[/easyazon_link] praised her as “my greatest experience in the art of painting.” She is the last Raphael work who died tragically at the age of 37 in the love bed of his mistress, La Fornarina – but it is not the story for today.

Jean-Auguste-Dominique-Ingres, Raphael and Fornarina, 1819, Harvard Art Museum
Jean-Auguste-Dominique-Ingres, Raphael and Fornarina, 1819, Harvard Art Museum. Meet La Fornarina, guilty of Raphael’s death of ecstasy.

Let’s move to 1754, when the king Augustus III of Poland wanted to get The Sistine Madonna for Saxony. At the beginning of the year 1752, the court of Saxony began to negotiate with the Italian monks who owned the masterpiece to purchase the picture. The monks were suffering from financial difficulties so the whole operation should go easily. After some negotiations, the final agreement was reached and the picture was sold to the court of Saxony for the price of 25,000 scudi in the year 1754.

Pietro Antonio Rotari, King Augustus III of Poland, 1755, Gemäldegalerie, Dresden. The most lavish king in art history.
Pietro Antonio Rotari, King Augustus III of Poland, 1755, Gemäldegalerie, Dresden. The most lavish king in art history.

How much is it now? For 25,000 scudi in 1754 one could build a whole district of a town in that era. Even to this day such an exorbitant amount of money has never been paid for a picture. This is a true art devotion!

Find out more:

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