Leonardo da Vinci’s long-lost portrait of Jesus Christ called ‘Salvator Mundi’ (or ‘Savior of the World’) sold for $450.3 million at a New York City action this week. The 500-year-old painting, which was deemed “the greatest artistic rediscovery of the 21st century,” is the most expensive work of art ever sold.
The opening bids started at $100,000 and it took 20 minutes to reach the final bid. The painting’s final price was $400 million but the fees added an extra $50.3 million to the figure. It is unclear who the new owner of the painting currently is as the bidding happened via the phone.
The previous record for a painting was Pablo Picasso’s “Women of Algiers (Version O)” whose final bid hit $179.4 million in 2015. The previous owner of DaVinci’s piece was Dmitry Rybolovlev, a Russian oligarch who tried to sell it privately for $127.5 million in 2013 but a lengthy lawsuit prevented him from doing so.
The two previous known owners of the portrait were King Charles I of England and his successor Charles II. From 1763 to 1900, the painting vanished from all records, a Christie’s spokesperson said.
Painting Sold for $60 in the Late Fifties
In 2005, the work of art, which is believed to be the last DaVinci masterpiece held by a private individual, was discovered in a small auction house in the U.S. At the time, the painting was believed to be a copy.
Ironically in 1958, the masterpiece sold in a London action for just $60.
On Tuesday, hundreds of people lined up outside the building hosting the painting to admire it. Leonardo DiCaprio was among those art lovers. The 43-year-old actor agreed to film a video portrait that captured the effect of the piece of art on those looking at it.
DiCaprio also plans to produce and appear in a movie about the famous painter’s life. The story will be largely based on Walter Isaacson’s writings and be located under the Appian Way in Italy.
Image Source: Wikimedia