Same portrait was once sold for just $60
Leonardo da Vinci’s portrait of Christ titiled Salvator Mundi has been sold for a record-breaking $450,312,500 (£341m) at Christie’s in New York, more than double the old price for any work of art at auction.
As yet, the new owner is unknown.
Despite being questioned for its condition and authenticity, the painting has been billed as “the greatest artistic rediscovery of the 20th Century” by Christie’s.
The 500-year-old restored portrait of Christ was only recently rediscovered and was the last da Vinci left in private hands.
First recorded in the private collection of King Charles I, the work was auctioned in 1763 before vanishing until 1900, by which time Christ’s face and hair had been painted over – once a “quite common” practice, said Alan Wintermute, Christie’s senior specialist for Old Master paintings.
With at least six bidders and increments coming in at more than 15m, loud cheers broke out in the packed Christie’s as the hammer came down.
“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.
Leonardo da Vinci died in 1519 and there are fewer than 20 of his paintings in existence.