Christie’s Sells Rare Leonardo Da Vinci Painting For $450.3 Million

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Salvator Mundi, the 500-year-old masterpiece painted by Leonardo Da Vinci, was sold by Christie’s Auction House. After only nineteen minutes, Alex Rotter, a representative from Christie’s who was working on behalf of an anonymous buyer, cast the winning bid. The final cost, $450.3 million, nearly doubles the previous record for most expensive sale at an auction. Over 30,000 people worldwide lined up to see the painting at Christie’s free public viewings.

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The auction took off fast, but quickly became a race between two bidders, working as proxies for buyers over the phone. According to Jussi Pylkkanen, Global President and Auctioneer for Christie’s, the bidding opened at $75 million, pulling in at least 45 client bidsAfter several minutes of volleyed bids, Alex Rotter and Francois de Poortere settled into a head-to-head competition for the piece on behalf of their clients, who were placing their bids remotely. At the $400 million mark, Mr. de Poortere bowed out, awarding the last Leonardo painting left in private hands to a new owner for a final price of $450.3 million inclusive of fees.

Leonardo Da Vinci’s paintings are some of the most prized, rare works of art in the world. With only twenty known paintings existing today, Salvator Mundi was thought to be overpainted and lost in time until only recently. The remaining known works of the artist are held in vaults within museums, with his most notable, the Mona Lisa, on display at the Louvre in Paris. Salvator Mundi was first recorded in the Royal Collection of King Charles, who reigned between 1600 and 1649. The oil-on-panel painting depicts Christ as savior of the world, with one hand raised in benediction while the other holds a crystal orb.

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