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Leonardo Da Vinci Portrait Of Christ Sells For Record-Shattering $450 Million

Leonardo Da Vinci Portrait Of Christ Sells For Record-Shattering $450 Million

To the 27,000 people who lined up at pre-auction viewings in Hong Kong, London, San Francisco and NY to glimpse the painting of Christ as "Savior of the World", this was merely the chance to lay their eyes on what Christie's billed as "the Last da Vinci", the only known painting by the Renaissance master still in a private collection (some 15 others are in museums).

The value of private sales are rarely known, but a Willem de Kooning and a Gauguin were previously thought the most expensive, sold in 2015 separately for $300 million each, according to United States media reports. 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.

Scholars believe the Leonardo painting is one of few works by Leonardo to survive the centuries since his death and the only one in private hands. While reports have investigated various sensitive mysteries about the work such as reflections in its globe, reports say that it was guaranteed for $80 million, making a sale certain.

Entitled Salvator Mundi (Saviour of the World), the painting is the only known one created by the Italian master which is in private possession. But no institution besides the Dallas Museum of Art, which in 2012 made an undisclosed offer on the painting, showed public interest in buying it.

Bidding representatives react after Salvator Mundi sold for $450 million at Christie's on Wednesday
Bidding representatives react after Salvator Mundi sold for $450 million at Christie's on Wednesday

Leonardo painted "Salvator Mundi" around the same time as the "Mona Lisa", and the two works of art "bear a patent compositional likeness", Gouzer said. "Salvator Mundi" is next recorded in a 1763 sale by Charles Herbert Sheffield, the illegitimate son of the Duke of Buckingham, who put it into auction following the sale of what is now Buckingham Palace to the king.

In 2011, the dramatic public unveiling of "Salvator Mundi" ('Savior of the World') in the exhibition Leonardo da Vinci: Painter at the Court of Milan at The National Gallery, London, caused a worldwide media sensation. Long-known to have existed, and long-sought after, it seemed just a tantalizingly unobtainable dream until now. This came after more than six years of painstaking research and inquiry to document the painting's authenticity. It has been more than a century since the last such painting turned up and this opportunity will not come again in our lifetime. It is also wonderful for an Old Master to be at the centre of such attention.

"It's been called 'the male Mona Lisa, '" he said, "but it doesn't look like it at all". It was, said Cerutti, 'a great moment for Christie's and a great moment for the art market'.

Dem Reads Trump Tweets During Sessions Hearing
Sessions also suggested all of his answers before Congress were answered to the best of his recollection. Sessions previously testified at a similar hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee in October.

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