Over a decade ago, a nearly 500-year-old painting of Jesus was sold at an estate sale for under $10,000.
Yesterday, the painting was sold for over $450 million.
As artists began to restore the “interesting picture,” they discovered it was actually a master piece painted by Italian Renaissance man Leonardo Da Vinci.
Per AP News:
Just a dozen years ago, a worn, touched-up, old painting of Christ went for less than $10,000 (8,450 euros) at an estate sale. On Wednesday, it was auctioned for a record-breaking $450 million (380 million euros) as a long-lost Leonardo da Vinci dubbed “the Last da Vinci” or the “male Mona Lisa.”
The Da Vinci piece drew a high price, even to some experts, but the painting remains one of less than 20 remaining artworks by the Italian Renaissance artist:
The high price, easily a record for a work of art at auction or in a private sale, surprised even experts. But Old Master paintings expert Nicholas Hall said Thursday it’s understandable that the painting commanded intense interest from bidders and the public.
Leonardo is “completely in a class of his own as a mind, as a myth, as an artist,” said Hall, a former Christie’s official who now runs a New York gallery. “There was and is this huge, genuine interest in this artist, and the story behind this painting — and the painting.”
Known as “Salvator Mundi,” or “Savior of the World” in Latin, has undergone a major restoration in recent years:
Because of the centuries of inexpert touch-ups, the dealers enlisted a conservator to clean and restore the painting. After a year and a half of work and research came “an extraordinary moment,” Simon said: “We started to think that this painting, which was just an interesting picture, might actually be by this great master.”
Further study, analysis and examination, involving at least a dozen experts, led to “a broad consensus” that the painting was an original Leonardo, according to Christie’s. Among the factors: infrared imaging revealed that the artist had changed the composition slightly while working, indicating that the painting wasn’t simply a copy. Known Leonardo sketches correspond to the folds of the Christ figure’s robes, Christie’s noted, and the detailed curls and hands adhere to the artist’s style.
According to the report, the masterpiece has changed ownerships a number of times, selling for just above $100 million in recent years.
Interestingly, the latest buyer has yet to disclose his or her identity (per Fox News):
Note: The author of this article has included commentary that expresses an opinion and analysis of the facts.
Who purchased the Leonardo da Vinci painting depicting Jesus Christ for an astonishing $450.3 million at Christie’s action house in New York Wednesday night?
The buyer’s identity, which is a mystery, has intrigued the world, becoming a source of intense speculation among international art dealers and on social media about who holds the painting by the Italian Renaissance master.
A Russian oligarch, a Saudi prince or a Japanese billionaire? No one knows