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500-year-old da Vinci painting sells for $450M at auction


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500-year-old da Vinci painting sells for $450M at auction



Last Updated Nov 15, 2017 7:54 PM EST


NEW YORK -- A 500-year-old da Vinci painting once belonged to a king who died on the chopping block. 

On Wednesday, it fetched a king's ransom -- on the auction block. It sold for $450 million late Wednesday.

Six years ago, art collector Robert Simon made a discovery that would rock the art world. He bought and restored what he thought was a merely a copy of Renaissance master Leonardo da Vinci's long lost work, the "Salvator Mundi." He got it at a bargain, for $10,000.

"My hope was that this could be an interesting version or copy by a student of Leonardo ...," Simon told CBS News, "... not by the master himself."

But turns out, it was a bona fide da Vinci -- one of only 15 the artist had ever created. Wednesday evening at Christie's, it was expected to go for at least $100 million -- but finally went well beyond that as bids poured in.

Simon was originally skeptical, because of the thick layers of paint covering cracks and chips in the work.

"When I realized what it was, I was frightened," Simon said. "This was such a momentous object … and there was one in my hands. Yeah, it was scary."

Da Vinci painted it in the 1500s, but since then, it's changed hands many times.

Once owned by King Charles I of England, it disappeared in 1763 for over 100 years before resurfacing in London. In 1958, it was auctioned off for about $100, dropping off the grid once again for another 50 years before Simon picked it up in the U.S.

It's a work that has a universal appeal -- not only because of the work, but because of the artist.

"I view him as the greatest representative of our species," Simon said.

A masterpiece that got lost in the pages of history finally has its renaissance.

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Its insane !!!

Although there are some cruecial doubts wheter its by daVincis hand, it is by his studio.

For me also it is not a usual Leonardo work.

He preferred twisted movement. It’s a good studio work with a little Leonardo at best .

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  • 2 weeks later...


Louvre Abu Dhabi to get $450-million da Vinci painting that broke auction records 

Christie’s said “Salvator Mundi” will be going to the museum, but declined to say whether the Louvre Abu Dhabi bought the painting.


The Louvre Abu Dhabi is getting Leonardo da Vinci’s “Salvator Mundi,” which sold last month at a Christie’s auction for $450 million (U.S.), the most ever paid for a work of art.

Christie’s said the artwork will be going to the museum, but declined to say whether the Louvre Abu Dhabi bought the painting. The Louvre Abu Dhabi said in a tweet Wednesday: “Da Vinci’s Salvator Mundi is coming to #LouvreAbuDhabi.”

Ever since the sale at Christie’s, the identity of the buyer has been the most sought-after secret in the art world and beyond. Buyers from the Middle East and Asia have been snapping up masterpieces to fill regional museums — and pushing prices ever higher.

The Louvre Abu Dhabi — a franchise of the Paris original — is a symbol of the oil-rich sheikhdom’s drive to boost its “soft power” credentials. To differentiate itself from neighbouring Dubai, Abu Dhabi is targeting affluent tourists looking for culture and art and it has also built hotels, theme parks and malls.

The organization behind the museum became one of the most aggressive buyers on the global art market over the last decade. It opened last month with more than 600 artworks for its permanent collection, including such Old Master paintings as Giovanni Bellini’s “Madonna and Child.” Da Vinci’s “La Belle Ferronnière” is on loan there from the Louvre in Paris.

The museum’s opening has also coincided with a period of heightened political tension in the Gulf and the broader Middle East. As one of the seven sheikhdoms in the United Arab Emirates, and the one with the largest oil reserves, Abu Dhabi is entwined in a Saudi Arabian-led dispute with neighbouring Qatar over its alleged support for terrorism. 

Believed to be the last Da Vinci in private hands, “Salvator Mundi” commanded four times what Christie’s had projected even as skeptics questioned its authenticity. The seller was Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev, who purchased it for $127.5 million in 2013.

“We are delighted that the work will again be on public view,” a Christie’s spokesperson said of the record-setting painting.

Alex Rotter, the auction house’s co-chairman of postwar and contemporary art in the Americas, represented the anonymous buyer of the Da Vinci and placed the winning bid after a spellbinding 19-minute contest that saw offers at $200 million, $300 million and $350 million fall short. The result obliterated previous world records for an art sale of any kind, including the auction high of $179.4 million for a Pablo Picasso painting sold in 2015.

At Christie’s Da Vinci auction, the salesroom was full of millionaires and billionaires, including Point 72 Asset Management’s Steve Cohen, Blackstone Group LP’s Tom Hill, who collects Old Master works, and philanthropist Eli Broad.

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