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Last Updated: Wednesday, 6 July, 2005, 22:10 GMT 23:10 UK
Canaletto's 11m smashes record
Bucintoro at the Molo on Ascension Day
The painting set a new record for a work by Canaletto
A painting by Italian master Canaletto has set a world record for the artist after being sold for 11m - twice its expected price - at auction in London.

The painting shows the Doge of Venice's barge, the Bucintoro, with crowds on what is thought to be Ascension Day, when the Doge blessed the city.

An anonymous telephone bidder bought the work, which had been owned by a Portuguese billionaire.

Christie's said the price tag for such a "beautiful picture" was no surprise.

The painting, which had been expected to fetch between 4m and 6m, was part of an auction of items owned by Portuguese businessman Antonio Champalimaud, who died last year.

The whole collection had been expected to be sold for 15m.

A Christie's spokeswoman said: "It is fantastic. It is way above what we expected but it is a beautiful picture I am not surprised it went for so much.

High quality

"Most things are going over their estimated price. I think it is down to their quality."

Prior to the sale, the Old Horse Guards from St James's Park - which was bought by Andrew Lloyd Webber in 1992 for 9.2m - was the most expensive Canaletto.

It is fantastic. It is way above what we expected but it is a beautiful picture I am not surprised it went for so much
Christie's spokeswoman

Canaletto, real name Giovanni Antonio Canale, lived from 1697 to 1768.

He became famous for painting views of the buildings and canals in his native Venice.

The auction, which took place on Wednesday, included other paintings, sculpture, furniture and Chinese porcelain.

Mr Champalimaud left a fortune estimated at $3.1bn (1.76bn) when he died last May, aged 86.

He was a noted philanthropist and most of the proceeds from the sale will go towards his Portuguese medical research foundation.

He left Portugal following the country's left-wing Carnation Revolution in 1974 and moved to Brazil, but returned in the 1990s and bought back his former companies which had been nationalised.

Canaletto painting sold for 2.8m
27 Jan 05 |  Entertainment
Brothers win Canaletto for a day
02 Jul 03 |  Entertainment
Canaletto discovered in gallery
15 Dec 02 |  Entertainment


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