Leonardo Da Vinci’s Salvator Mundi Sells For A Record US$450 Million

Arts

November 16, 2017 | BY Isabel Wong

The 500-year-old painting is now the world's most expensive artwork ever sold

A rediscovered painting by Leonardo da Vinci shattered the world record for an artwork sold at auction, selling for $450.3 million at Christie’s New York on Wednesday.

Alex Rotter, the auction house’s co-chairman of postwar and contemporary art in the Americas, placed the winning bid on behalf of an unidentified client after a multiway 19-minute war that saw offers of US$200 million, US$300 million and US$350 million falling short. The record-breaking sale eclipses all previous artwork auction records, including the US$179 million sale of Picasso's Les Femmes d'Alger (Version O).

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Salvator Mundi—Latin for “Saviour of the World”—has been described as the greatest artistic find in the past 50 years. Rediscovered in 2005 at a regional auction in the US, this is the first time a new da Vinci painting has been discovered since 1909, and its value was estimated at US$100 million before the auction took place.  

Featuring an image of Christ with an elusive yet ethereal expression, it was dubbed the “male Mona Lisa”. A recent condition report by Christie’s reveals that da Vinci used at least five thin layers of glazing to build up the flesh tones of Christ’s face—the same technique he used for the Mona Lisa.

Salvator Mundi once belonged to England’s King Charles I in the 17th century and disappeared around 1900. The painting was exhibited for 72 hours in Hong Kong in October before its auction in New York, where artworks by Jean-Michel Basquiat and Andy Warhol also went under the hammer.

See also: The Last Da Vinci Is Now In Hong Kong - Don't Miss Your Chance To See It

Watch the auction in the video below:

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