A painting believed to be by Leonardo da Vinci and also expected to be 500-year-old has been sold for $450.3 million in New York on Wednesday. The sale of the painting has created a new world record for the most expensive work of art sold at auction. Christie’s auction house sold the work — entitled “Salvator Mundi”, which is believed to be painted five centuries ago and is the only painting by the Italian Renaissance polymath to be privately held.
The painting, which was part of the collection of King Charles I of England (1600-1649), had ended up in the hands of a Russian billionaire, who bought it in year 2013 for $127.5 million. Da Vinci was born in the Republic of Florence, in present-day Italy, in 1452 and died in France in 1519. There are fewer than 20 of his paintings in existence now. The painting shows Jesus Christ with one hand raised, the other holding a glass sphere.
According to reports, in 1958, it was sold at auction in London for $60. By then the painting was generally reckoned to be the work of a follower of Leonardo and not the work of Leonardo himself. One of the critics even described the surface of the painting to be “inert, varnished, lurid, scrubbed over and repainted so many times that it looks simultaneously new and old”.
Some of the most expensive paintings across the globe:
Woman of Algiers by Pablo Picasso
This painting revolutionised modern art, was sold at an astronomical price of $179.4 million two years before
Nu couché (Reclining nude) by Amedeo Modigliani
Modigliani’s 1917-18 Reclining Nude was sold for $170.4 million.
Card Players by Paul Cézanne
The Card Players painting privately in 2011 for a whopping $250 million