Portrait of Christ by da Vinci sells for record $611m

17 November, 2017, 01:36 | Author: Miranda Cannon
  • The moment Leonardo da Vinci's

It was recorded in the collection of King Charles I of England in 1649 but was auctioned to the Duke of Buckingham in 1763. Christie's did not identify the seller, other than to say it was a European private collector.

The painting was consigned to a sale at Sotheby's auction house in 1958 where it fetched just 45 British pounds.

The work was accepted as an authentic da Vinci when it was included in a 2011 exhibition of the artist's works at London's National Gallery, and two years later it was sold to the billionaire Russian oligarch painting Dmitry Rybolovlev for US$127.5 million ($AU168m).

"Cook's descendants sold it at auction in 1958 for £45 and it was acquired by a U.S. consortium of art dealers in 2005".

But many art experts argue that Christie's used marketing window dressing to mask the baggage that comes with the Leonardo, from its compromised condition to its complicated buying history and said that the auction house put the artwork in a contemporary sale to circumvent the scrutiny of old masters experts, many of whom have questioned the painting's authenticity and condition. "Despite being created approximately 500 years ago, the work of Leonardo is just as influential to the art that is being created today as it was in the 15th and 16th centuries".

Leonardo da Vinci's masterpiece "Salvator Mundi" has sold at Christie's in NY for $450,312,500 - a world auction record for any work of art. It dates to about 1500 and depicts a figure of Christ dressed in Renaissance-style attire, with the right hand raised in benediction and the left holding a crystal orb. It's said to be one of just several paintings from Leonardo's own hand that still exist.

Christie's has exhibited the painting in Hong Kong, San Francisco, London and NY in the weeks prior to Wednesday's sale.


Why? Because that piece of artwork, called "Salvator Mundi", is credited to Leonardo da Vinci.

A staff member poses with a painting by Leonardo da Vinci entitled "Salvator Mundi" in London on October 24, 2017, before it is auctioned in NY.

"It's a once-in-a-lifetime experience", she said.

"Toward the end, Alex Rotter, Christie's co-chairman of postwar and contemporary art, who represented a buyer on the phone, made two big jumps to shake off one last rival bid from Francois de Poortere, Christie's head of old master paintings". It was discovered in 2005 and underwent heavy restoration, according to the New York Times.

$450.3 million for a painting might be nothing to the rich bidders of the art world, but to us regular folks, we can't even imagine.

For years it was presumed to have been destroyed, emerging only in 2005 when it was purchased from a USA estate.

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