Da Vinci's 'Salvator Mundi' becomes most expensive painting in history

Sale breaks the previous record for a work of art 

Tom Batchelor
Thursday 16 November 2017 02:09
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Da Vinci's 'Salvator Mundi' becomes most expensive painting in history

A painting of Christ by Leonardo da Vinci has sold for $450m (£341m), smashing previous records for art sold at auction or privately.

The sale breaks the previous record for a work of art by $240m.

Picasso's "Women of Algiers (Version O)” held the record for fetching the most at auction until today’s sale. That painting went for $179.4m in May 2015.

The 26-inch-tall Leonardo painting dates from around 1500 and shows Christ dressed in Renaissance-style robes, his right hand raised in blessing as his left hand holds a crystal sphere.

Once owned by King Charles I, it disappeared from view until 1900, when it resurfaced and was acquired by a British collector. At that time it was attributed to a Leonardo disciple, rather than to the master himself.

The painting was sold again in 1958 and then acquired in 2005, badly damaged and partly painted-over, by a consortium of art dealers who paid less than $10,000. The art dealers restored the painting and documented its authenticity as a work by Leonardo.

The painting was sold on Wednesday evening by Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev, who bought it in 2013 for $127.5m.

Additional reporting by Associated Press

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