Da Vinci's Salvator Mundi sold for $450 million

The painting depicts a half-length figure of Jesus, holding a crystal orb in his left hand as he raises his right in benediction.

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.

Christie's has exhibited the painting in Hong Kong, San Francisco, London and NY in the weeks prior to Wednesday's sale.

"It was a moment when all the stars were aligned, and I think Leonardo would be very pleased", said Mr Jussi Pylkkanen, global president of Christie's.

"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.

That is the kind of name-brand appeal that Christie's was presumably banking on by placing the painting in its high-profile contemporary art sale, rather than in its less sexy annual old master auction, where it technically belongs. "It has been more than a century since the last such painting turned up and this opportunity will not come again in our lifetime".

"Leonardo was an unparalleled creative force and a master of the enigmatic".

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But many art experts argue that Christie's used marketing gymnastics to mask the baggage that comes with the Leonardo, from its compromised condition to its complicated buying history and said that the auction house put the artwork in a contemporary sale to circumvent the scrutiny of old masters experts, many of whom have questioned the painting's authenticity and condition.

Gouzer continued, "Salvator Mundi" was painted in the same timeframe as the Mona Lisa, and they bear a patent compositional likeness". Standing in front of his paintings, it becomes impossible for one's mind to fully unravel or comprehend the mystery radiating from them - both the "Mona Lisa" and "Salvator Mundi" are ideal examples of this.

It has been guaranteed by a backer to sell for at least $100 million (85 million euros).

To date, it's the 12th artwork to sell for more than $100 million at auction.

She also said that there are mixed opinions in the art history community on the painting's authenticity.

The work, dating from about 1500, was first recorded in the Royal collection of Kings Charles I and Charles II. After an extensive restoration, experts spent six years proving that it was painted by Leonardo himself. It's wonderful it's in NY. "Long known to have existed, and long sought after, it seemed just a tantalizingly unobtainable dream until now", Wintermute said. Art collectors consider Salvator Mundi as the "male Mona Lisa" making it a legendary piece.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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