Leonardo da Vinci’s Salvator Mundi sells for $450m
The portrait of Christ, deemed ‘lost’ since the 18th century, smashes auction records
A painting of Christ by Leonardo Da Vinci has sold at auction for a world-record $450m (£342m) at Christie’s in New York.
“The 500-year-old oil painting depicting Christ holding a crystal orb, called Salvator Mundi — or Saviour of the World — is one of fewer than 20 paintings by Leonardo da Vinci known to exist,” reports the ABC.
Bidding on the painting lasted less than 20 minutes, pausing at just over $200m before a steady stream of bids pushed the price to $332m.
A telephone bidder, whose identity has not been revealed, raised the price to $350m, then to $370m, before a final bid of $400m sealed the sale.
“The sale places Salvator Mundi as the highest-priced work sold at auction, including Pablo Picasso’s 1955 Women of Algiers (Version O), sold for $179.4m, and Amedeo Modigliani’s 1917-18 Reclining Nude, sold for $170.4m,” The Guardian says.
The painting was commissioned by Louis XII of France, and was once owned by Charles I, but it had been presumed lost since the late 18th century.
It reappeared in 1958, where it was auctioned off by Sotheby’s as a copy of Da Vinci’s original, fetching just £45. It resurfaced in 2005, when it was bought for $10,000 by a group of art dealers and painstakingly restored, then authenticated.
“The record-breaking price tag will come as a relief to previous owner Dmitry Rybolovlev, a Russian businessman, who bought the painting for $127.5 milion in 2013,” CNN says.