Is this $450 Million da Vinci Even a Real da Vinci?

Tomas Mccoy
November 17, 2017

Christie's declined to identify the buyer, other than to confirm that bids came from "every part of the world". The record sale price of $450 million includes the buyer's premium, a fee paid by the victor to the auction house.

The Cook Collection acquired Da Vinci's painting in 1900, but it was mistaken for a copy. The highest known sale price for any artwork had been $300 million (253 million euros), for Willem de Kooning's painting "Interchange", sold privately in September 2015 by the David Geffen Foundation to hedge fund manager Kenneth C. Griffin.

Rybolovlev put the painting up for auction through Christie's in NY last night and the sale of Lot 9 turned into a 20-minute heavyweight title fight between to two unknown buyers that smashed all previous auction records, having started with a price estimate of $US100 million. "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".

The 26-inch-tall (66-centimeter-tall) Leonardo painting dates from around 1500 and shows Christ dressed in Renaissance-style robes, his right hand raised in blessing as his left hand holds a crystal sphere. It's said to be one of just several paintings from Leonardo's own hand that still exist.

New York-based Christie's reports in a news release that around 1,000 art collectors, dealers, advisors, and journalists and the public attended the Wednesday auction at the Rockefeller Center.


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. The previous record for an Old Master painting was $US76.7 million for Massacre of the Innocents by Peter Paul Rubens in 2002.

Christie's says it belonged to Charles I, after possibly being made for the French royal family and taken to England by Queen Henrietta Maria when she married the English monarch in 1625.

The auction house has also played down the painting's volatile history. Standing in front of his paintings, it becomes impossible for one's mind to fully unravel or comprehend the mystery radiating from them - both the "Mona Lisa" and "Salvator Mundi" are ideal examples of this. It's wonderful it's in NY.

$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. Since it resurfaced, it has been exhibited at the National Gallery in London and at Christie's showrooms all over the world.

Scholars had long believed "Salvator Mundi" was destroyed, until it re-emerged in 2005.

Other reports by Ligue1talk

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