NEW YORK – Christie’s auction house in New York sold on Wednesday a painting by Leonardo da Vinci for $450.3 million.
The work – entitled “Salvator Mundi” – was painted five centuries ago and is the only painting by the Italian Renaissance polymath to be privately held.
The painting, which was part of the collection of King Charles I of England (1600-1649), had ended up in the hands of a Russian billionaire, who bought it in 2013 for $127.5 million.
Da Vinci was born in the Republic of Florence, in present-day Italy, in 1452 and died in France in 1519.
According to Christie’s, the price achieved represents a world record for any work of art auctioned so far. The auctioned price was $400 million and the rest is the fees that the buyer must pay.
The continuous telephone bidding lasted for about 20 minutes, a very long period for the usual standards. The initial price was $70 million, but just three minutes later it had reached $200 million.
Two of the attendees at the auction starred in the final part of the bid, and one of them won it when raising the amount offered from $370 to $400 million, the final price it went under the hammer.
“Salvator Mundi” is considered the most important artistic rediscovery of this century. It was in 2011, after a process of restoration and analysis, that the experts cleared up many years of doubts by confirming Da Vinci’s authorship.