The portrait of Ottoman Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent, thought to have been made by one of the followers of the Italian painter Gentile Bellini, was sold for 5.3 million pounds ($6.9 million). The sale price was well above the reserve.

This portrait of Ottoman sultan Suleiman the Magnificent circa 1520 was auctioned in London on May 1, 2019 for $6.9 million.
This portrait of Ottoman sultan Suleiman the Magnificent circa 1520 was auctioned in London on May 1, 2019 for $6.9 million. (Tayfun Salci / AA)

Auction house Sotheby's has announced that a portrait of Suleiman the Magnificent sold on Wednesday for 5.3 million pounds ($6.9 million).

The initial estimate for the sale was 250,000 to 350,000 pounds ($326,440 to $457,000). It sold for 15-20 times that amount. The name of the buyer has not been disclosed.

Sotheby's said it believed the portrait was the work of a follower of Italian painter Gentile Bellini, and was painted in the early 16th century in Venice.

The likeness of Suleiman is thought to be based on descriptions of the sultan provided by Western diplomats who could enter and leave the Ottoman palace in Istanbul in what is Turkey today.

Before the auction, Deputy Director Alexandra Roy, an expert in Middle Eastern and Islamic Arts at Sotheby's said the portrait was one of the two most valuable works being offered on sale in the "Arts of the Islamic World" collection.

In its catalogue note, Sotheby's described the importance of the landmark work.

"Not only is it one of the few Western images of an Eastern potentate done by a European artist, but it probably also served as a primary source of inspiration for many later portraits, drawings, prints and medals of Sultan Suleyman the Magnificent," Sotheby's wrote.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies