The painting is being called the greatest art rediscovery of the 21st century
It’s not every day the art world gets to see a new Leonardo da Vinci painting. Onlookers were said to have gasped when a rediscovered da Vinci painting, Salvator Mundi, was unveiled at Christie’s New York Auction house on Tuesday.
The painting, which resurfaced in 2005 when purchased from an American estate, is expected to auction for $100 million. When it was unveiled Tuesday, the painting was flanked with bodyguards and sliding doors to select members of the press. Architectural Digest describes the piece as depicting a “haunting, half-length image of Christ as Savior of the World, cupping a crystal orb in his left hand with his right raised in benediction. The figure is dressed in flowing lapis lazuli robes and faces the viewer head-on, wearing a piercing, mesmerizing gaze not unlike that of the Mona Lisa.”
Fewer than 20 paintings by the father of High Renaissance style are known to exist, and all of them are in public collections, with the exception of the painting displayed Tuesday in New York. Salvator Mundi will travel to Hong Kong, San Francisco, and London for exhibition before returning to New York for Christie’s Evening Sale of Post-War and Contemporary Art on November 15, where it is expected to fetch a bid close to $100 million from a private buyer, according to Architectural Digest.
The painting sold at a Christie’s auction for $60 in 1958 before it was identified as da Vinci’s work in 2011.
“To see a fully finished, late masterpiece by Leonardo, made at the peak of his genius, appear for sale in 2017 is as close as I’ve come to an Art World Miracle,” Alan Wintermute, a senior specialist in Old Master Paintings at Christie’s, told Architectural Digest. “It has been more than a century since the last such painting turned up and this opportunity will not come again in our lifetime.”