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17 November 2017, 01:35 | Ruben Stone
Leonardo da Vinci's Salvator Mundi
It was recorded in the collection of King Charles I of England in 1649 but was auctioned to the Duke of Buckingham in 1763. Rybolovlev's family trust sold the painting, through Christie's, to an undisclosed buyer, but if his name sounds familiar for other reasons, that might be because in 2008 he paid (through a company he controlled) $95M to buy a Palm Beach mansion from Donald Trump.
"It is every auctioneer's ambition to sell a Leonardo and likely the only chance I will ever have", Jussi Pylkkanen, Christie's president, said in the release.
This, despite the fact that the provenance of the painting is disputed, many experts believing one of da Vinci's students completed the painting rather than the master himself. The depiction of Jesus Christ was sold by Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev, who bought it for $127.5 million in 2013.
The winning bid for the piece, titled "Salvator Mundi" ("Savior of the World"), was four times Christie's pre-sale estimate and smashed the world record for the most expensive painting ever sold at auction.
The artwork has been the subject of legal disputes and amassed a price history that ranges from less than $10,000 in 2005, when it was spotted at an estate auction, to $200 million when it was first offered for sale by a consortium of three dealers in 2012.
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The auction house, which also helped sell Picasso's painting "Women of Algiers", reports that around 30,000 people attended Christie's showing of the painting in Hong Kong, London, San Francisco and NY. It dates to about 1500 and depicts a figure of Christ dressed in Renaissance-style attire, with the right hand raised in benediction and the left holding a crystal orb.
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 excitement from the public for this work of art has been overwhelming and hugely heartening", he said. Art collectors consider Salvator Mundi as the "male Mona Lisa" making it a legendary piece. "Leonardo inspired generations and continues to inspire today", said Francois de Poortere, head of the Old Masters department at Christie's. It's wonderful it's in NY. The painting is expected to sell at auction for $100 million on Wednesday.
"After centuries of hiding, da Vinci's Christ as "Salvator Mundi" stirred unmatched sensation in the art world when it was unveiled on the walls of London's National Gallery in 2011", he said.
"It was process that began shortly after the work was discovered - heavily veiled with overpaints, long mistaken for a copy - in a small, regional auction in the United States in 2005".
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