Leonardo da Vinci painting sells for eye-watering $450 million

Ausiliatrice Cristiano
Novembre 17, 2017

A long-lost painting of Jesus Christ by old master Leonardo Da Vinci has sold for $US450 million - more than double the previous mark for any work of art at auction.

The Times reports that the work bid so generously upon was Da Vinci's "Salvator Mundi", substantially beating out the second-highest-priced piece of art sold at auction, Picasso's "Women of Algiers", which was bought in 2015 (Christie's sold both works).

"Savior of the World" is one of some 16 known surviving paintings - including the "Mona Lisa" - by da Vinci, the master of the Italian Renaissance.

The painting of Christ was later recorded in a 1763 sale by Charles Herbert Sheffield, the illegitimate son of the Duke of Buckingham, who put it into auction following the sale of what is now Buckingham Palace to the king. For years it was presumed to have been destroyed, emerging only in 2005 when it was purchased from a United States estate. They just wanted to see a masterpiece that dates from about 1500 and was rediscovered in 2005. In 1958, it was sold at auction in London for $60, BBC reported. The new owner of the painting has not been disclosed. The artwork was presumed lost up until 1900, when it resurfaced and was acquired by a British collector; however, at that time, many people credited the work to one of da Vinci's followers, Bernardino Luini. The painting was rediscovered in 2005 at an auction in the US, where it was restored and then scrutinised by art scholars.

Members of the public - indeed, even many cognoscenti - cared little if at all whether the painting might have been executed in part by studio assistants; whether Leonardo had actually made the work himself; or how much of the canvas had been repainted and restored.

Its owner before Wednesday's auction was billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev the 15th richest man in his native Russian Federation.

Salvator Mundi by Leonardo da Vinci.

In New York, where no museum owns a Leonardo, art lovers lined up outside Christie's Rockefeller Center headquarters on Tuesday to view 'Salvator Mundi'. "The opportunity to bring this masterpiece to the market is an honour that comes around once in a lifetime", he said.

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