Agnolo Bronzino's Portrait of a Young Man with a Book realised $9.1m in Christie's January 28 Renaissance Art sale in New York.
Bronzino (1503-1572) was among the most successful artists of his era. His patrons included the powerful Medici family, who were the richest house in Europe at the time.
This gave them extraordinary power and influence.
Christie's explained his appeal: "Although there is no evidence of any knowledge of his work, there is a parallel between the portraiture of Bronzino and that of Andy Warhol, the most celebrated purveyor of 'iconic' images of the 20th century.
"Warhol, who became interested in Chairman Mao following Nixon's visit to China, painted him in part 'since fashion is art now and Chinese is in fashion'.
"Of course his interest was fired by Mao's power and celebrity, and his place in the select group of instantly recognizable people, like Jackie O and Liz Taylor, who defined his era and his culture."
A study for the Madonna of the Eucharist (circa 1470) by Sandro Botticelli sold for $845,000 - an increase of 40.8% on estimate.
The final version of the piece, known as the Chigi Madonna after the family that originally owned it, is housed in Boston's Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.
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