Da Vinci painting of Christ sells for record $450m

Da Vinci painting of Christ sells for record $450m

Da Vinci painting of Christ sells for record $450m

It was recorded in the collection of King Charles I of England in 1649 but was auctioned to the Duke of Buckingham in 1763.

That is the kind of name-brand appeal that Christie's was presumably banking on by placing the painting in its high-profile contemporary art sale, rather than in its less sexy annual old master auction, where it technically belongs.

Da Vinci's last piece of work, the "Horse and Rider" sculpture, sold for $11 million in 2001. It was later overpainted, auctioned in 1958 for £45 and in 2005 sold again, when the effort started to restore the work and get it authenticated.

The "excitement" for Leonardo's work has been "overwhelming".

"Salvator Mundi" or "Savior of the World", which depicts Jesus Christ , more than doubled the previous record of $179.4 million paid for Pablo Picasso's "The Women of Algiers (Version O)" in NY in 2015.

Christie's said most scholars agree that the painting is by Leonardo, though some critics have questioned the attribution and some say the extensive restoration muddies the work's authorship.

The 500-year-old oil painting depicting Christ holding a crystal orb is called "Salvator Mundi" or "Savior of the World".

When the sale was first announced by the auction house back in October, thousands of people visited exhibitions to see the painting including in cities like New York, San Francisco, London, as well as Hong Kong. Svetla Nikolova, who is from Bulgaria but lives in NY, called the painting "spectacular". But no institution besides the Dallas Museum of Art, which in 2012 made an undisclosed offer on the painting, showed public interest in buying it. Standing in front of his paintings, it becomes impossible for one's mind to fully unravel or comprehend the mystery radiating from them - both the "Mona Lisa" and "Salvator Mundi" are ideal examples of this.

"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", Gouzer said after the sale. The previous record for an Old Master painting was $US76.7 million for Massacre of the Innocents by Peter Paul Rubens in 2002. And a Gauguin would have also been sold 300 million by a swiss collector, in February 2015, according to the New York Times.

Christie's declined to comment on the controversy and had valued the painting pre-sale at $100 million.

"After centuries of hiding, da Vinci's Christ as "Salvator Mundi" stirred unmatched sensation in the art world when it was unveiled on the walls of London's National Gallery in 2011", he said. "Long known to have existed, and long sought after, it seemed just a tantalizingly unobtainable dream until now", Wintermute said.

Related news