July 9 2012
There was an astonishing price at Christie's last week for the above painting, catalogued as 'Follower of Leonardo'. Estimated at £50-£70,000, it made £937,250 (inc. premium). I thought the picture was rather ordinary, and not half as good as the version in the Hermitage, which is thought to be by one of Leonardo's pupils, Francesco Melzo. But the Christie's catalogue entry was temptingly written, and evidently more than one person thought the picture was better than many believed. Would this price have been achieved before the recent Leonardo show? Possibly not.