Peter Paul Rubens illustration up 200% on estimate

An illustration by Peter Paul Rubens was the headline lot of Christie's Old Master Drawings sale in New York on January 29.

It sold for $1.9m, an increase of 200% on a valuation of $600,000.

Rubens Sistine Christies
Rubens was a key artist of the Flemish baroque era

The lot is evocatively titled "Two nude men dragged down by demons and lifted up by three partly robed figures" and executed in the style of Michelangelo.

It was copied from Michelangelo's masterpiece The Last Judgment, a magnificent altar piece that stands in the Sistine Chapel.

Rubens (1577-1640) was a hugely important painter of the baroque era. The record for his work stands at £49.5m ($76.7m), set at Sotheby's London in 2002.

Maarten van Heemskerck's The Triumph of Tobias was another highlight, achieving $905,000 against a $100,000 estimate - an increase of 805%.

The lot is one of eight such pieces produced for a printing of The Triumph of Patience, a set of engravings depicting some of the more depressing scenes from the Bible.

The Death of Socrates by Jacques-Louis David realised $593,000, up 97.6% on a valuation of $300,000.

Another drawing by David, Nude Soldiers Gesticulating with their Weapons, sold for $401,000 at Sotheby's on January 28 - also as part of New York's Old Masters Week.

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