The last privately owned Leonardo da Vinci painting and one of fewer than 20 by the Renaissance artist known to still exist is hitting the auction block, Christie’s announced on Tuesday.
“Salvator Mundi,” an ethereal portrait of Jesus Christ which dates to about 1500, is expected to sell for about $100 million at Christie’s in November, making it among the most highly-valued works ever to be sold at auction.
“This is truly the Holy Grail of art rediscoveries,” said Alan Wintermute, Christie’s senior specialist for Old Master paintings, explaining that the portrait sometimes called the male Mona Lisa had long been thought to have been lost or destroyed.
The portrait depicts Christ in vivid blue and crimson robes holding a crystal orb.
First recorded in the private collection of King Charles I, the work was auctioned in 1763 before vanishing until 1900, by which time Christ’s face and hair had been painted over, which Wintermute said was “quite common” practice.
Sold at Sotheby’s to an American collector in 1958 for 45 pounds, it again sold in 2005 as an overpainted copy of the masterwork, he said.
The new owner started the restoration process, and after some six years of research it was authenticated as da Vinci’s more-than 500-year-old masterpiece, which culminated in a high-profile exhibition at London’s National Gallery in 2011.
The auction house did not identify the seller, a European private collector who acquired the work after its rediscovery in 2005 and lengthy restoration. The painting stands as the first discovery of a da Vinci painting since 1909.
“Salvator Mundi” will be sold at Christie’s in New York at its Nov. 15 sale of post-war and contemporary art following public exhibitions in Hong Kong, London and San Francisco.
“We felt that offering this painting within that context is a testament to the enduring relevance of this picture,” said Loic Gouzer, chairman of Christie’s post-war and contemporary art.
Speaking to its $100 million estimate, Wintermute reflected “There has never been anything like it sold, and so the market will decide.”
The same sale at Christie’s will feature Andy Warhol’s monumental “Sixty Last Suppers,” a piece from one of the pop artist’s final series before his death in 1987.
The 32-foot, multiple-image work is estimated to fetch $50 million.
A love letter to the viewer,
If you have not accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour, here’s how you can do so today and have a home in Heaven when you die:
- First, please understand that you are a sinner, just as I am, and that you have broken God’s laws. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”
- Second, accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…”
- Third, accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Also, the Bible states in Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”
Now this is bad news, but here’s the good news. Jesus Christ said in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
- Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can live eternally with Him. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will.
- Romans 10:9 & 13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved… For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
- If you believe that Jesus Christ died on the Cross for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead, and you want to trust Him for your Salvation today, please pray with me this simple prayer: Holy Father God, I realize that I am a sinner and that I have done some bad things in my life. For Jesus Christ sake, please forgive me of my sins. I now believe with all of my heart that Jesus Christ died for me, was buried, and rose again. Lord Jesus, please come into my heart and save my soul and change my life today. Amen.
If you just trusted Jesus Christ as your Saviour, and you prayed that prayer and meant it from your heart, I declare to you that based upon the Word of God, you are now saved from Hell and you are on your way to Heaven. Welcome to the family of God! Congratulations on trusting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour. You have done the most important thing in life. For more information to help you grow in your newfound faith in Christ, go to GospelLightSociety.com and read “What To Do After You Enter Through the Door“. Jesus Christ said in John 10:9, “I am the door, by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”
God loves you. We love you. And may God bless you!