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DaVinci Painting ‘Salvator Mundi’ Auctioned at Record 453 Million Dollars

Christie’s New York held perhaps the most reactionary auction in modern history Wednesday night, selling the prized Leonardo da Vinci painting ‘Salvator Mundi’ marking the first time in history a $400m (£304m) item was sold at an auction.

The masterpiece depiction of Jesus Christ was discovered merely a decade ago selling for than triple the amount most experts had predicted.

The two highest prices for a work of art include Pablo Picasso’s “Les Femmes d’Alger” (1955), at a near total of $179.4 million and Willem de Kooning’s “Interchange” (1955) at roughly $300 million.

A cultural legend, DaVinci has painted over 300 works during his lifetime, though only 15 can be attributed in his name with certainty. Most paintings were made on panel, with the remainder a mural, a large drawing on paper, and two works in the early stages of preparation. Also, the authorship of several paintings traditionally attributed to Leonardo is still being disputed today.

Though many experts speculate that the work of ‘Salvator Mundi’ was not done by the master himself, the Christie museum stated scholars generally agree that it’s authentic and its finding in 2005 is “the greatest artistic rediscovery of the 20th century.”

Experts note that the orb in Christ’ hand contradicts the science-obsessed DaVinci and that he would have surely depicted the object’s light-refraction accurately, they argue.

However, one can also argue that ‘The Last Supper,’ arguably DaVinci’s finest and most memorable piece of art depicts a very similar Christ than the one painted in Salvator Mundi’ and that depictions such as Byzantine Christ and El Greco’s Christ depict starkly contrasting images of the Son of Man. This has led to some experts believing DaVinci collaborated with a pupil on ‘Salvator Mundi.’

During the final bid, an amazing $30 million came in the final bid, when, contemporary department head and auctioneer Alex Rotter, jumped from $370 million to $400 million to a client who still has not been identified, probably due to safety concerns.

Interesting facts about ‘Salvator Mundi’ is that it belonged to England’s King Charles I in the 17th century and disappeared shortly after the start of the 20th century. The painting, which means ‘Saviour of the World’, was reconstructed after its wood panel based reportedly split in two.

In addition, the auctioneers predicted that it would be sold in the 100 millions. The final bid for the painting will be a landscape moment in auctions for prized artworks across the world setting a new bar in how money can influence decision making.

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