Leonardo Da Vinci Portrait Of Christ Sells For Record-Shattering $450 Million

Leonardo Da Vinci Portrait Of Christ Sells For Record-Shattering $450 Million

The value of private sales are rarely known, but a Willem de Kooning and a Gauguin were previously thought the most expensive, sold in 2015 separately for $300 million each, according to U.S. media reports.

'We toured Leonardo da Vinci's Salvator Mundi around the world, and at every stop crowds of people were drawn to this painting, wanting to stand in front of the picture and experience it in person.

"The composition doesn't come from Leonardo".

"Leonardo was an unparalleled creative force and a master of the enigmatic".

But many art experts argue that Christie's used marketing window dressing to mask the baggage that comes with the Leonardo, from its compromised condition to its complicated buying history and said that the auction house put the artwork in a contemporary sale to circumvent the scrutiny of old masters experts, many of whom have questioned the painting's authenticity and condition.

The provenance of "Salvator Mundi" is largely shrouded in mystery, however.

Dated to around 1500, the work sold after 19 minutes of frenzied bidding - an incongruous Old Master in Christie's evening postwar and contemporary sale, which attracts the biggest spenders in the high-octane world of global billionaire art collectors.

Louis XII of France first commissioned the painting and Charles I of England later owned the piece. The painting constituted more than half of Wednesday's sales total of US$785.9 million, which came in well above the roughly US$450 million pre-sale estimate. The artwork disappeared once again for nearly 50 years, leaving many scholars to believe it had been destroyed, until it resurfaced in 2005 when it was purchased at an American estate sale.

Carl Court  Getty Images
Carl Court Getty Images

Alex Rotter, Christie's co-chairman, was the man who set the winning bid for the client on the phone. It was dubbed "the greatest artistic rediscovery of the 21st century".

"The excitement from the public for this work of art has been overwhelming and hugely heartening", he said. "I went home and didn't know if I was insane". It was discovered in 2005 and underwent heavy restoration, according to the New York Times.

Francois de Poortere, head of Christie's old master paintings department, said the painting has been referred to "Male Mona Lisa".

The work was exhibited at The National Gallery in London in 2011, after years of research trying to document its authenticity after it was found, mistaken for a copy, in a U.S. auction in 2005.

It has been guaranteed by a backer to sell for at least $100 million (85 million euros).

"'Salvator Mundi' is the Holy Grail of old master paintings".

For years it was presumed to have been destroyed, emerging only in 2005 when it was purchased from a USA estate.




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