Leonardo da Vinci and the US$400 million masterpiece
By: Sarah Engstrand
November 16, 2017
Salvator Mundi, the once lost painting believed to be a work of Leonardo da Vinci, has sold for a record-breaking price at auction in New York City. The anonymous buyer made the final bid of US$400 million, four times the estimated amount- which #legend predicted last month when the work came to Hong Kong.
For centuries the painting, which depicts Christ holding the world with his sinister hand and offering a blessing with his right, was thought to be the work of one of his many assistants. It is only after a thorough restoration that many in the art world now believe it to be a work of the master himself, though this remains a point of contention (Vulture has an interesting take to support the nay-sayers).
Regardless of its creator, the work has had a storied history. Once owned by King Charles I, it later vanished from record, only to reappear at auction in 1958 for the sum of £45. Fast forward half a century, and the once royal, once humble, piece is officially authenticated as a lost da Vinci, and the world went wild. You can learn more about its history here.
The piece, marketed as “The Last da Vinci” is now the only one of its kind to be in a private collection. But before disappearing from the public realm, it had a star-studded sendoff, with Leonardo DiCaprio (soon to play the artist in an upcoming biopic), Patti Smith, Alex Rodriguez and Jennifer Lopez attending the auction preview.
If you missed your chance to see Salvator Mundi, you can enjoy this video of other people looking at it.