Leonardo da Vinci: Salvator Mundi

Leonardo da Vinci: Salvator Mundi
oil on panel. 25 7/8 x 18 in. (65.7 x 45.7 cm.)

Leonardo’s ‘Salvator Mundi’ sells for $450 million

Leonardo da Vinci’s ‘Salvator Mundi’ realized $450,312,500 at Christie’s, breaking the world auction record for any work sold at auction

November 16th, 2017. Source: Christie’s

On a historic night at Christie’s in New York, Salvator Mundi, a depiction of Christ as ‘Saviour of the World’ by one of history’s greatest and most renowned artists, sold for $450,312,500 / £342,182,751 (including buyer’s premium), becoming the most expensive painting ever sold at auction.

This stunning price reflects the extreme rarity of paintings by Leonardo da Vinci — there are fewer than 20 in existence acknowledged as being from the artist’s own hand, and all apart from “Salvator Mundi” are in museum collections.

The inclusion of “Salvator Mundi” in the National Gallery’s landmark 2011-12 exhibition of Leonardo’s surviving paintings — the most complete display of such works ever held — sealed its acceptance as a fully autograph work by Leonardo da Vinci. This came after more than six years of painstaking research and inquiry to document the painting’s authenticity. It was process that began shortly after the work was discovered — heavily veiled with overpaints, long mistaken for a copy — in a small, regional auction in the United States in 2005. Prior to that, it was consigned to a 1958 sale at Sotheby’s where it sold for £45.

At the same auction, Andy Warhol’s “Sixty Last Suppers” sold for $60,875,000, while Franz Kline’s monumental “Light Mechanic” fetched $20,000,000.

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