The item is one of only eight Leonardo drawings left in private hands, according Christie’s, the auction house organizing the sale.
Measuring less than 8 square inches, the drawing was made on pale pink-beige paper using silverpoint — a technique, taught to Leonardo by his master Andrea del Verrocchio, that involves marking chemically treated paper with silver rods or wire.
In a press release, the chairman of Old Master paintings at Christie’s New York, Ben Hall, called the sketch “one of the most important works from the Renaissance still in private hands,” adding that it had “been owned by some of the most distinguished collectors in the field of Old Masters across many centuries.” Notable previous owners include painter Sir Thomas Lawrence and art collector Captain Norman Robert Colville.
The drawing, which includes the artist’s signature, will go on display in Hong Kong later this month. It will then move on to London, where it is expected to fetch between £8 million and £12 million ($11.21 million to $16.82 million) at a July sale.
Master of anatomy
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Though Leonardo is best known for oil paintings like the “Mona Lisa” and “The Last Supper,” the Renaissance master was also celebrated for his anatomical sketches. His drawing “The Vitruvian Man,” a mathematically precise rendering of a nude male, is often hailed as one of his greatest accomplishments.