When it comes to finding masterpieces at rummage sales, so many stories come to mind. While many discoveries have resulted in financial windfalls, none have fetched the price tag like the Salvator Mundi, by Leonardo Da Vinci. At a shocking $450.3 Million Salvator Mundi was auctioned off at Christies in November, making this the highest selling art in history*. While the Salvator Mundi makes art auction history, the journey to get here starts with some mystery.
Salvator Mundi (‘Saviour of the World’) was believed to have been a lost piece that first emerged in the collection of King Charles I and was rediscovered in 2005. DaVinci expert Martin Kemp was one of the historians consulted to verify its authenticity: “Once you walked into the room it had that uncanny presence that Leonardo’s have.”** After a painstaking restoration process, the painting changed hands and travelled around the world several times. But little is known about when or how it emerged other than it was quite possibly commissioned by Louis XII of France.
The Salvator Mundi’s future is unknown as the winning bidder remains anonymous. The world waits to see if this Da Vinci hides in a private collection or continues to be experienced in galleries and museums.
Jennie Olson Six
Cultural Italy Staff Writer