The long-lost Salvator Mundi painting by the legendary Leonardo da Vinci has sold for $450 million at a Christie’s auction, breaking record.
Salvator Mundi, a painting by Leonardo da Vinci from 1500, was thought to have been lost until 2005. It broke the record as the most expensive bid for any work of art at an auction with $400 million, plus $50.3 million in auction house premium.
The name Salvator Mundi is Latin for Saviour of the World, and is believed to be a painting of Jesus Christ by Leonardo da Vinci commissioned by King Louis XII of France more than 500 years ago.
For 20 minutes, telephone bidders were raising each others by the tens of millions for the masterpiece.
At just over $200 million, the bidding paused for a tense while before a telephone bidder pushed the price from $332 million to $350 million. When the bidding resumed, it jumped to $353 million, then $355 million, followed by $370 million before selling at $400 million.
“Thank you all for your bidding,” said Pylkkänen. “Four hundred million selling here at Christie’s. The piece is sold.”
The saleroom erupted in cheers and applause.
Christie’s, the New York-based auction house, would not reveal the identity of the buyer or even where they were from.
The sale marks Salvator Mundi as the most expensive art piece sold privately or at auction, surpassing Pablo Picasso’s 955 Women of Algiers, which sold for $179.4 million, and Amedeo Modigliani’s 1917-18 Reclining Nude, which sold for $170.4 million.
The painting shows Christ holding a crystal orb in his left hand and raising his right one in benediction. While previewing the painting last month, Christie’s described it as “the biggest [art] discovery of the 21st century”.