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Leonardo’s Salvator Mundi, a depiction of Christ as Saviour of the World, s...

4 years ago News

Leonardo’s Salvator Mundi, a depiction of Christ as Saviour of the World, s...

Leonardo’s Salvator Mundi, a depiction of Christ as Saviour of the World, sold for $450, 312, 500 (including buyer’s premium), at Christie’s in New york making it the most expensive painting ever sold at auction.


Previous record holders


  • Record for an Old Master – Massacre of the Innocents  by Peter Paul Rubens, which sold for $76.7 million in 2002.

  • Record for a Da Vinci – Horse and Rider, a work on paper, sold for $11, 481, 865 in 2001.

  • Record for the most expensive work of art at auction – Picasso’s Les Femmes d’Alger (Version ‘O’) sold for $179, 364, 992 in 2015 in the same Christie’s saleroom.

The last Da Vinci


Billed by the auction house as “The Last da Vinci, ” the painting spent centuries in obscurity until it was rediscovered in 2005 and underwent a six-year restoration and verification process.


It is regarded as the holy grail of old masters and the greatest artistic rediscovery of the last 100 years.


The price reflects the extreme rarity of paintings by Leonardo da Vinci – there are less than 20 – and all, apart from Salvator Mundi, are in museum collections.


The painting’s journey since the early 1500s


  • It was part of the royal collection of King Charles I of England in the 1600s.

  • It disappeared in 1763 for nearly a century and a half.

  • In 1900, Sir Charles Robinson purchased the painting for the Cook Collection in London. By then,  it was no longer credited to Da Vinci, but to his follower Bernardino Luini.

  • In 1958, the collection was auctioned off in pieces, with Salvator Mundi going for £45.

  • Then it dropped off the grid for another 50 years until resurfacing in Louisiana in 2005 where it was bought for $10 000 by the New York-based art collector and Da Vinci expert Robert Simon and art dealer Alexander Parish.

Celebrities flock to see the painting


Since the sale of Salvator Mundi  was announced on 10 October at Christie’s, almost 30 000 people, including Leonardo DiCaprio, Patti Smith and Jennifer Lopez, flocked to Christies’s exhibitions of the ‘Male Mona Lisa’ in Hong Kong, London, San Francisco and New York.


Male Mona Lisa


Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa and two paintings of St John the Baptist are believed to be composites of male and female models.



Silvano Vinceti, an Italian art historian, has argued that research backs his long-standing claim that Leonardo da Vinci used both a female and male model to create the Mona Lisa that hangs in the Louvre in Paris.


He believes that Leonardo modeled the Mona Lisa on the face of his young male apprentice and lover, Gian Giacomo Caprotti whose nickname was Salai (Little Devil), and not only on the face of the famous La Giaconda (Lisa del Giocondo née Gherardini).


“I believe that this goes with a long-time fascination of Leonardo’s, that is, the subject of androgyny. In other words, for Leonardo, the perfect person was a combination of a man and a woman.”


Previous scholars have claimed that Leonardo painted the Mona Lisa as a disguised self-portrait, or based the work, with its famously enigmatic smile, on his mother.




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