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Rare Leonardo da Vinci painting sells for record $450M at auction

This is a blockbuster

Da Vinci’s “Salvator Mundi” unveiled
Christie's unveiled Leonardo da Vinci's “Salvator Mundi” in New York City.
Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images

Editor's Note: This post was originally published in October 2017 and has been updated with the most recent information.

Big news in the art world: “Salvator Mundi,” reportedly the last Leonardo Da Vinci painting in private hands, just sold for $450.3 million at a hotly anticipated Christie’s auction in New York City. The sum sets a new record for a work of art sold at auction—the previous highest price was $179.4 million for Picasso’s “Les Femmes d’Alger”—and, just for the fun of comparison, bests the price tag on the current most expensive home for sale in the world, an 18,000-square-foot mansion in the South of France asking $412 million.

Christie’s first unveiled the piece at a press conference in October, where it also presented Andy Warhol’s “Sixty Last Suppers,” a 32-foot painting completed in 1986 that went up for auction alongside Da Vinci’s work; the Warhol piece fetched $60.9 million.

Dating back to 1500, “Salvator Mundi,” Christie’s claims, is one of around 15 surviving paintings by one of history’s greatest artists and depicts a half-length figure of Jesus Christ, holding a crystal orb in his left hand and raising his right hand in benediction. The painting was originally recorded in the collection of King Charles and was long thought to be lost or destroyed until it was rediscovered in 2005. In 2011, it made a public debut in an exhibition at the National Gallery in London before selling privately in 2014.

Da Vinci’s “Salvator Mundi.”
Courtesy Christie’s
Andy Warhol’s “Sixty Last Suppers.”
Courtesy Christie’s

Leading up to the auction, the painting had gone a global tour with public exhibitions in Hong Kong, San Francisco, London, and, finally, New York.