Da Vinci painting of Christ sells for record $450m

Da Vinci painting of Christ sells for record $450m

Da Vinci painting of Christ sells for record $450m

In absurd news for everyone with only €5 in the bank, one Leonardo da Vinci painting made news for being the most expensive ever sold - for $450.3 million.

Many celebrities were present at the auction, including Leonardo DiCaprio, who is slated to play the Renaissance painter in an upcoming film by Paramount, singer Jennifer Lopez and singer-songwriter Patti Smith.

According to rumors, the Italian artist painted "Salvator Mundi" for the French royal family and it was taken to England by Queen Henrietta Maria when she married King Charles I in 1625.

The contest for the masterpiece was eventually reduced to just two bidders, which saw the price reach more than double the previous record for a painting, set by Picasso's "Les Femmes D'Alger", which sold for $179.4 million in May 2015.

Dating from around 1500, the haunting oil on panel painting depicts a half-length figure of Christ as Savior of the World, facing frontally and dressed in flowing robes of lapis and crimson.

"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", Gouzer said after the sale. 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.

"Salvator Mundi" is notable for being one of fewer than 20 da Vinci known paintings, and mostly so for being the only one owned by a private buyer.

So huge was interest that almost 30,000 people flocked to see the painting at Christie's showrooms in Hong Kong, London, San Francisco and NY, the auction house said. Its rediscovery was followed by six years of painstaking research and inquiry to document its authenticity with the world's leading authorities on the works and career of da Vinci.

"The composition doesn't come from Leonardo", said Jacques Franck, a Paris-based art historian and Leonardo specialist. Long-known to have existed, and long-sought after, it seemed just a tantalizingly unobtainable dream until now. I can hardly convey how exciting it is for those of us directly involved in its sale. It is also wonderful for an Old Master to be at the centre of such attention. Since it resurfaced, it has been exhibited at the National Gallery in London and at Christie's showrooms all over the world.

"It's been called 'the male Mona Lisa, '" he said, "but it doesn't look like it at all".

Here is to a moment of art glory.

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