Saint Peter, a newly discovered oil painting by Domenikos Theotokopoulos (the artist better known as "El Greco") has sold at Bonhams for £791,650 ($1.3m) - representing a superb 1,219% increase on its £60,000 ($96,698) high estimate.
The painting features a forlorn Saint Paul figure, thickly bearded and dressed in a billowing yellow tunic with his chin resting in his hand.
The naturalistic rendering of the figure, as well as its fine details, have led experts to date the painting somewhere between El Greco's late Roman and early Spanish periods.
Theotokopoulos (1541-1614) was born on the Greek island of Crete, which is where his nickname El Greco or "The Greek" comes from.
Known for affording the imagination primacy over technical accuracy, El Greco's work is characterised by his expressive use of colour, and graceful, often marginally elongated, brush strokes. Religious situations and symbols are heavily in evidence throughout his work, including in what is perhaps his best known painting, The Disrobing of Christ.
The conservative estimate placed on Saint Peter by Bonhams was due to questions over the painting's authenticity.
That the painting has achieved such a high figure at auction puts popular opinion, if not verifiable evidence, well and truly behind it.
Andrew McKenzie, director of old master paintings at Bonhams, said: "The painting was a totally new discovery on our part which was the result of extensive research.
"Owing to the notorious difficulties in distinguishing between those authentic works that can be absolutely verified to be El Greco and workshop variants, we attributed the painting to the artist in our auction catalogue description with an appropriately cautious estimate."
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