A painting of Jesus Christ by Leonardo da Vinci has sold for a whopping $450.3million (£341million) thereby breaking records of all time in the sale of art works.
The Salvator Mundi, Italian for Savior of the World, went under the hammer at Christie’s and went for more than double the previous record.
What’s most surprising is that in 1958 it was attributed to a different artist and sold at Sotheby’s for the paltry sum of £45 (about £800 in today’s money)
It is one of fewer than 20 paintings by Leonardo known to exist and the only one in private hands.
The highest known sale price for any artwork had been $300 million (£227 million), for Willem de Kooning’s painting Interchange, sold privately in September 2015 by the David Geffen Foundation to hedge fund manager Kenneth C Griffin.
A backer of the Salvator Mundi auction had guaranteed a bid of at least $100 million (£75 million), the opening bid of the auction, which ran for 19 minutes. The price hit $300 million about halfway through the bidding.
The painting was sold by Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev, who bought it in 2013 for $127.5 million (£96.7 million) at Christie’s Rockefeller Center in New York on Wednesday evening by an unnamed buyer from Europe.
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.
In New York, where no museum owns a Leonardo, art lovers lined up outside Christie’s Rockefeller Centre headquarters on Tuesday to view Salvator Mundi.
It really was spectacular.