The Art World Reacts: Watch Important People Freak Out About the $450 Million da Vinci on Social Media

The Internet went a little bonkers. What else did you expect?

New York art advisor Todd Levin did the math.

If you’ve been in a coma since last night, you’re waking up to the news that a painting attributed to Leonardo da Vinci, the last one in private hands, smashed every record and sold at Christie’s New York for the indescribable sum of $450.3 million.

But while you’ve been snoozing, the world has been tweeting and Instagramming. We’ve combed through the social platforms for some of the best reactions from the art world—from awed to salty to witty—and beyond. Here’s what we found.

A Museum Reacts

Museums would love to have bought the painting, but we all know that their acquisitions budgets probably fall tens or hundreds of millions of dollars short. So online, they did what they could, at least by way of commentary.

One museum cleverly summed up the challenges museums face in the post-Salvator Mundi era.

A Christie’s Staffer Celebrates

And why wouldn’t he?

Before the sale, Christie’s Loic Gouzer, one of the proxy bidders, went to a Halloween party…

… and, after the sale, Gouzer got a ride from… who?


The Peanut Gallery Pipes Up

Whether haters or experts, there are plenty of people, in and out of the art world, who (figuratively) aren’t buying it.

For some reason, Hollywood funnyman Seth Rogen has opinions:

Artist and MacArthur “genius” Nicole Eisenman is so not feeling it:

The Art World In-Jokers 

Some called on comparisons to various art-world-famous artists and artworks to bring the joke home.

The art world’s other favorite restoration gone wrong came to many people’s minds:

Da Vinci's Salvador Mundi sold for 400 million dollars!

Posted by Joaquin Carter on Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Christie’s promoted the painting with footage of awestruck visitors who waited in line to see the thing; one observer compared the sometimes-tearful reactions to Marina Abramović’s staring contest at MoMA:

Jerry-Rigging the Conversation

The always-opinionated New York magazine scribe Jerry Saltz had some thoughts, and others had some thoughts on his thoughts.

Saltz went so far as to, for some reason, malign the Christ by face swapping him with Saltz’s fellow reality TV star:

An ARTnews writer animated his weariness with a certain someone’s hot take:

Curator Benjamin Godsill, formerly of the Whitney Museum of American Art and Phillips auction house, had a message for Saltz:

Mundi Memes Aplenty

What better way for the visually oriented denizens of the art world, or the Internet-obsessed ones, to react but by meme-ifying?

One observer posited that while the world is in disbelief and awe, Salvator Mundi himself is pretty chill:

“Meme artist” Charles Lutz finds inspiration:


Here’s one of your favorite TV painters and one of your most beloved art-restoration memes, in a single post:

O Jesus, Where Art Thou?

The man who instructed his followers to sell all their belongings and give their money to the poor had plenty of opportunities to weigh in via his many clever proxies.

William Shakespeare drops some wisdom:

WWJB (What Would Jesus Bid?):

Money Matters (Too Much)

Plenty of people had plenty to say about the price tag. Some were skeptical; others just plain went nuts, believing the sale to be a sign of the End Times.

The punsters at a certain Gotham tabloid must have been up late cooking up this take:

New York artist Caitlin Cherry pointed out a sobering comparison:

Another from Godsill, who made the link with the other major financial story of the day:

If you do some calculations, says this observer, there’s a feminist point to be made by comparing the Savior of the World with Leonardo’s other majorly famous work:

Very Honorable Mention

This young art historian was inspired to imagine, honestly, what we’d say is the best birthday party in the world.

That’s all we’ve got for now. Come at us in the Facebook comments with more.

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