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Leonardo da Vinci painting smashes auction record at $450 million

Leonardo da Vinci painting smashes auction record at $450 million”

On Wednesday evening, an anonymous collector dialed in to a spacious room inside Rockefeller Center in New York City and instructed the person on the other end of the line to spend almost half a billion dollars for a 25.8-inch by 17.9-inch oil painting of Jesus Christ.

And there were plenty of bidders last night who were suitably convinced by its Leonardo da Vinci attribution to drive the price up to such stratospheric heights.

"The composition doesn't come from Leonardo", said Jacques Franck, a Paris-based art historian and Leonardo specialist.

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

In 2011, Salvator Mundi went on public display. "No one will ever be able to fully grasp the wonder of Leonardo's paintings, just as no one will ever be able to fully know the origins of the universe", Gouzer added. It closes with the text "The Last da Vinci" appearing on screen.

The provenance of "Salvator Mundi" is largely shrouded in mystery, however.

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. Major collectors had traveled here for the sale.

The painting has an interesting sales history.

Christie's experts said the painting's rarity was hard to overstate, calling it the "Holy Grail" for auction specialists.

It was purchased at an estate auction in 2005 for $10,000 and then sold privately in 2013 for $80 million. It says it is the only painting by the Renaissance master in private hands. It was dubbed "the greatest artistic rediscovery of the 21st century". "The excitement from the public for this work of art has been overwhelming and hugely heartening".

"My hands were shaking", Modestini said in a statement released through Christie's in October.

Visitors wait outside Christie's to view Leonardo da Vinci's "Salvator Mundi", Nov. 14, 2017, in NY.

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.

Francois de Poortere, head of Christie's old master paintings department, said the painting has been referred to "Male Mona Lisa". Since it resurfaced, it has been exhibited at the National Gallery in London and at Christie's showrooms all over the world.

Prior to Wednesday's highly anticipated sale, Christie's had secured a guaranteed bid for the painting of at least $100 million by an anonymous investor.



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