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A very small sketch of a bear, measuring less than 15 square centimetres, has sold for more than $12 million.

The artist? None other than Leonardo da Vinci.

The sketch, titled Head of a Bear, is one of only eight da Vinci drawings still in private hands. It has been displayed all over the world, including the St. Peterburg's State Hermitage Museum, the Louvre Abu Dhabi and the National Gallery in London.

CNN reports that the sketch was made on pale pink-beige paper using silverpoint, a technique that involves marking chemically treated paper with silver rods or wire. The silverpoint technique was taught to da Vinci by his master, Andrea del Verrocchio.

The sketch was auctioned off at Christie's, and was described as "small but magnificent" by Stijn Alsteens, the international head of Christie's Old Master drawings department.

The Head of a Bear sketch might not have fetched the expected auction price, but it still broke Christie's auction record for da Vinci drawings. The previous record was held by his sketch titled Horse and Rider, which sold for more than $11 million.

Image credit: The Economic Times

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