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A Rare Leonardo da Vinci Painting Was Just Sold for $450 Million

As the last painting known to belong to a private owner, da Vinci’s “Salvator Mundi”, or “Savior of the World,” was sold for a record $450 million.

The painting swept away all other auctions. The former record holder for highest priced painting sold at auction was Pablo Picasso’s “Women of Algiers (Version 0)”, sold in May 2015 for $179.4 million. The highest sold privately was Willem de Kooning’s “Interchange,” in September 2015. It was sold for $300 million to hedge fund manager, Kenneth C. Griffin.

“Salvator Mundi” dates from around 1500 and stands at 26 inches tall. It depicts Christ in Renaissance-style robes, holding a globe in one hand, and his hand up in blessing in the other.

The painting has somewhat of a convoluted history: Before it disappeared from the public in 1900, it was owned by King Charles I of England. Then it was found by a British collector, and it was assumed that it was painted to one of da Vinci’s pupils. In 1958, the painting was sold and then acquired in 2005 for less than $10,000. At this point some sections were painted over, and the painting was badly damaged.

Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev bought the painting for $127.5 million in 2013, then sold it on Wednesday. Christie’s auction house, where the painting was sold, said that most scholars believe it is a da Vinci original, but others think because of it’s multiple restorations, the authorship of the painting is muddled.

Christie’s labelled the painting, “The Last Da Vinci,” and got the public hyped for it’s sale. Before hand it was exhibited in Hong Kong, San Francisco, London, and New York. On Tuesday, Christie’s Rockefeller Center headquarters saw lines of art lovers who wanted to catch a glimpse of the painting. Svelta Nikolova called the painting “spectacular.” About seeing the painting she said, “It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” she said. “It should be seen. It’s wonderful it’s in New York. I’m so lucky to be in New York at this time.”

[via ABC7]

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