Private collectors can't get their hands on this Da Vinci work

Christie's employees take bids for Leonardo da Vinci’s

This week the painting was again sold at auction at Christie's in NY, for £342m, making it the most expensive artwork in the world.

The rediscovered masterpiece by the Renaissance master sells for an historic $450,312,500, obliterating the previous world record for the most expensive work of art at auction.

The painting, known as "Salvator Mundi", meaning "savior of the world" in Latin, is now the most expensive painting ever sold.

The 500-year-old painting, which depicts Jesus Christ, was sold after a 19-minute bidding war, which started at AUD $130 million.

Christie's capitalized on the public's interest in Leonardo, considered one of the greatest artists of all time, with a media campaign that labeled the painting "The Last Da Vinci".

Mukti Khaire, a Cornell University professor who is an expert in the art business, said one of the messages of the da Vinci sale was "the extent to which art is a "business" (note that Christie's purportedly used ads and other marketing practices to increase awareness of the work) and, by extension. that systematically studying markets for art and other cultural goods (books, films, music, etc.) through a business and entrepreneurship lens can yield new insights". "It has been more than a century since the last such painting turned up and this opportunity will not come again in our lifetime". "No one will ever be able to fully grasp the wonder of Leonardo's paintings, just as no one will ever be able to fully know the origins of the universe." . The painting constituted more than half of Wednesday's sales total of US$785.9 million, which came in well above the roughly US$450 million pre-sale estimate.

Louis XII of France first commissioned the painting and Charles I of England later owned the piece. Prior to that, it was consigned to a 1958 sale at Sotheby's where it sold for £45.

The price could call into question a legal suit lodged by its Russian seller, who accused a Swiss art dealer in Monaco of allegedly overcharging him when he bought the work for $127.5 million in 2013. "Long known to have existed, and long sought after, it seemed just a tantalizingly unobtainable dream until now", Wintermute said.

"Salvator Mundi is a painting of the most iconic figure in the world by the most important artist of all time", said Loic Gouzer, co-chairman of postwar and contemporary art at Christie's, was quoted by The Associated Press as saying. It is also wonderful for an Old Master to be at the centre of such attention. 'We toured Leonardo da Vinci's Salvator Mundi around the world, and at every stop crowds of people were drawn to this painting, wanting to stand in front of the picture and experience it in person.

Here is to a moment of art glory.



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