Ivan Aivazovsky’s canvas View of Constantinople and the Bosphorus was sold on Tuesday at Sotheby’s auction in London for a record $5.2 million (3.2 million pounds), the auction’s press service said.
View of Constantinople and the Bosphorus, painted in 1856, was the top lot of the Orientalist Sale, which totaled 5.6 million pounds.
The work by Russia’s outstanding marine painter was sold to an unknown buyer over the phone after tense auctioning, with the ultimate price almost three times as high as the pre-auction expert estimates of 1.2-1.8 million pounds.
Aivazovsky first visited Constantinople in 1845 as the official painter of the Russian Admiralty appointed by Emperor Nicholas I. His other works on the city with views on the Haghia Sophia and the Bay Golden Horn were smaller in scale while View of Constantinople and the Bosphorus is a monumental-sized painting.
Aivazovsky’s work conveys the beauty and dynamics of the busy port. In the right corner, it has the Nusretiye Mosque, an original combination of baroque and Islamic architecture, which is also an important navigation landmark.
The painting was last sold in 1995 and has been in the same hands ever since.