This is the case with works by Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519) and pictured here are 17th century versions by da Vinci’s followers of two of his most famous paintings, the Mona Lisa and his Virgin of the Rocks, that featured in Paris sales this summer.
Christie’s offered an early 17th century Italian school replica of the Mona Lisa in an online sale held from June 11-18. It is known as the 'Hekking Mona Lisa' after Raymond Hekking (1866-1977), who acquired it in the 1950s and then devoted his energy to defending his version of the painting, which he advocated as the original.
The 2ft 7in x 18½in (79.5 x 47cm) oil on canvas was offered with an estimate of €200,000-300,000 and it ended up selling for €2.4m (£2.07m), an auction record for a replica of the Mona Lisa.
On June 22 Tajan’s (25/20/12 % buyer’s premium) sale of Old Master paintings included a version of the Virgin of the Rocks catalogued as French school, c.1630. The 5ft 7in x 3ft 10in (1.7 x 1.2m) oil on its original canvas came with a c.1840 provenance to the Château de la Pierreuse, at Marigny-les-Usages in the Loiret, and had remained in the possession of the family until the present day.
Offered with an estimate of €300,000-500,000, it sold for €570,000 (£491,380), the top price of the auction.