The Week in Art


Botticelli and Leonardo: the new normal for Old Masters

This week, the Old Masters in the digital age. We look at the $92m live-streamed auction sale (with fees) of a major Botticelli in New York and new research, including a study using artificial intelligence, into Leonardo’s Salvator Mundi.

While a prize Botticelli sold for a record price for the early Renaissance master at Sotheby's, a Rembrandt, expected to fetch $20m-$30m, was withdrawn from the auction at the last minute. So as the coronavirus crisis continues, is this really a good moment to sell Old Masters? Scott Reyburn, who writes for The Art Newspaper and the New York Times, reflects on the results of the sale and the Old Masters market more generally.

Then, Alison Cole, the editor of The Art Newspaper, explains the latest scientific findings about Salvator Mundi, the Leonardo painting that sold at Christie’s in 2017 for $450m—including a study using neural networks.

And for this episode’s Work of the Week, the artist Gerard Byrne talks about a diorama in the Biological Museum, in Stockholm, which inspired Byrne’s series of photographs, Beasts, and a film installation, Film Inside an Image, both now showing in an online viewing room at

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