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Published: Fri, November 17, 2017
Culture | By Antonia Gonzales

Da Vinci's Salvator Mundi sold for $450 million

Da Vinci's Salvator Mundi sold for $450 million

Auctioneer and Global President Jussi Pylkkanen is selling Leonardo da Vinci's Salvator Mundi (Savior of the World) painting for $450,312,500 at Christie's, November 15, 2017, in New York City.

Leonardo da Vinci's portrait of Christ, Salvator Mundi, sold for a record-smashing $450.3 million on Wednesday at Christie's, more than double the old price for any work of art at auction. Billed by Christie's as "the last da Vinci", it's the only known painting by the Italian Renaissance artist still in a private collection.

"It's been a brilliant marketing campaign", said Alan Hobart, director of the Pyms Gallery in London, who has acquired museum-quality artworks across a range of historical periods for the British businessman and collector Graham Kirkham.

In a bold move, without a hint of irony, the painting was sold in its Post-War and Contemporary Art Evening Sale alongside a Jean-Michel Basquiat and Andy Warhol. It was sold by Christie's auction house, which didn't immediately identify the buyer.

Sold at Sotheby's to an American collector in 1958 for only £45 - or S$81 in today's value - it sold again in 2005 as an overpainted copy of the masterwork.

The highest known sale price for any artwork had been $300 million (253 million euros) for Willem de Kooning's "Interchange" in September 2015, which was sold privately.

Whoops and applause rippled through the packed room as bids quickly escalated into unchartered territory, coming down to two head-to-head rivals on the telephone. Peter's painting was valued at $76 million. The final bid was $400 million, but the sale price includes a premium paid to Christie's.

The painting has been at the center of a lawsuit by Rybolovlev, who has accused Swiss art dealer Yves Bouvier of overcharging him on a string of art deals. He resold it within days to the Russian tycoon, for $127.5 million, netting a $47.5 million profit.

Da Vinci's Salvator Mundi sold for $450 million
Da Vinci's Salvator Mundi sold for $450 million

He has denied any wrongdoing.

Christie's presented the sale this fall the greatest artistic rediscovery of the 21 century: Leonardo da Vinci's Salvator Mundi. Salvator Mundi was purchased by an unidentified buyer bidding via telephone after a protracted contest of almost 20 minutes at the NY auction house.

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 USA auction in 2005.

For years it was presumed to have been destroyed, emerging only in 2005 when it was purchased from a United States estate. "It's an extraordinary feeling to see the magnetism around this painting".

He is dressed in Renaissance-style robes, his right hand raised in blessing as his left hand holds a crystal sphere.

The painting was first recorded in the Royal collection of King Charles I (1600-1649), and thought to have hung in the private chambers of Henrietta Maria - the wife of King Charles I - in her palace in Greenwich, and was later in the collection of Charles II.

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

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