Salvator Mundi: The Last Da Vinci?

By Marian Pascual

Leonardo Da Vinci’s Salvator Mundi is without a doubt, one of the greatest artistic rediscoveries of the 21st century.  It is one of the few 20 surviving Da Vinci paintings which made it a huge worldwide media sensation.  But what made the Salvator Mundi worth $400 million dollars?

On November 15 of last year, the painting was offered in a special lot in the Post-War Contemporary Art Evening Sale at Christie’s in New York.  Starting the bid at $70 million, the painting was sold 19 minutes later with the record sum of $400 million, breaking the record of the most expensive art piece in the world.  How crazy is it that [restrict]500 years later, Leonardo had no idea that his painting would be sold for over $400 million dollars, which is a million times greater than the currency back then!  Today, the painting is in the hands of the Louvre Abu Dhabi.

The history of the painting dates back 500 years ago (around the 1500’s) according to experts, and is known for certain that it was painted for King Charles I, since it was recorded in his royal inventory a year after his execution in 1649.  Salvator Mundi (‘Saviour of the World’) is a painting of Jesus in a Renaissance holding the world in his left hand, and giving a benediction or blessing with his right hand.  At first, the painting was thought to be a copy of a lost original, but after research and its removal over overpaint, the painting was restored which proved its authentication as the original one.

But can this be the last Da Vinci?  According to some reports, Salvator Mundi is cannot be the last Da Vinci since the Duke of Buccleuch owns Da Vinci’s Madonna of Yarnwinder, and if sold at auction, it would be sold for at least $1bn…  It would not be a surprise that after seeing the results from Salvator Mundi’s auction, he wouldn’t mind selling his Da Vinci too!

It is fascinating to think that after hundreds of years, the world would rediscover such an exceedingly rare painting by one of the world’s greatest painters.  With the development of technology, who knows what else humanity could discover?  Lucian Freud’s Francis Bacon?  Or the existence of aliens?  Only time will tell.[/restrict]

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