Leonardo da Vinci’s Salvator Mundi painting was sold for $450.3 million this Wednesday at an auction held at the New York Rockefeller Center. The event, which was organized by Christie’s Auction House, focused on postwar and contemporary art sales. The final bid for the painting was for $400 million but the sale price included a premium paid to the auction house.
Da Vinci’s Salvator Mundi made also half of the event’s total of $785.9 million. The evening had 58 lots on offer, 49 out of which were sold.
Salvator Mundi (Savior of the world) is the only painting left by da Vinci to still be held privately. It was put on the block by a Russian billionaire, Dmitry Rybolovlev, who bought the painting for $127.5 million.
The bidding opened at $75 million and lasted for 19 minutes. The duel was between five bidders, four of which were on the telephone, and one in the room.
Jussi Pylkkanen, the auctioneer, stated that the increasing value of sale made him acknowledge the historical significance of that moment.
„There were gasps throughout the sale, as the bids climbed by tens of millions..by fives…and then by twos”
At one point during the bidding, Pylkkanen noticed a buyer pondering on whether he should raise the bid, to which the auctioneer said: „It’s a historic moment; we’ll wait”.
The painting is 26 inches tall and dates back to about 1500. It shows a figure of Christ in Renaissance style clothing. Salvator Mundi appeared in the collections of various English Kings, however, it disappeared before 1900. The painting was bought by Sir Frederick Cook, a British collector, when it resurfaced. Da Vinci’s art piece then went on public display in 2011.
Christie’s co-chairman of postwar and contemporary art, Alex Rotter, represented the buyer who eventually won the bid. The name of the buyer has not been released.
Image Source: WikipediaCommons