Leonardo Christ painting sells for record $450M

Leonardo Christ painting sells for record $450M

Leonardo Christ painting sells for record $450M

Leonardo da Vinci's portrait of Christ "Salvator Mundi" sold for a record-smashing $450.3 million (R6.48-billion) on Wednesday at Christie's in NY - more than double the old mark for any work of art at auction.

The painting, only recently rediscovered, was the last da Vinci left in private hands and fetched more than four times Christie's' pre-sale estimate of about $100 million.

"Salvator Mundi" (Saviour of the World) was purchased by an unidentified buyer bidding via telephone after a protracted contest of almost 20 minutes at the NY auction house.

"It was a moment when all the stars were aligned, and I think Leonardo would be very pleased", Jussi Pylkkänen, global president of Christie's, told Reuters after the sale.

"The professionalism and experience of Christie's employees, who set a sales record for Leonardo da Vinci's "Savior of the World" helped to partially restore the value of Mr. Rybolovlev's collection", Sergei Chernitsyn, an adviser to the businessman said, RBC reports. "It's the pinnacle of my career so far". The all-time record high spent on any piece of artwork, auction or not, was $300 million for Willem de Kooning's "Interchange".

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

The painting, once owned by King Charles I of England, vanished for centuries from the public view until resurfacing in 1900.

The 500-year-old oil painting depicting Christ holding a crystal orb is called "Salvator Mundi" or "Savior of the World". "This came after more than six years of painstaking research and inquiry to document the painting's authenticity". The deal with Da Vinci's masterpiece was favorable for the Rybolovlev family, he added. "Prior to that, it was consigned to a 1958 sale at Sotheby's where it sold for PS45 (around $53 U.S.)". The previous record belongs to Pablo Picasso's "Women of Algeria" - the painting was sold in 2015 for 179 million dollars.

Dmitry Rybolovlev's representative explained the decision of the Russian billionaire (Forbes evaluated fortune at $7.3 billion in 2017) to part with his painting.

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