Recently Rediscovered Leonardo da Vinci Painting Fetches $75 Million in Private Sale

The painting was only recently identified as a Leonardo.

Leonardo da Vinci. Salvatore Mundi (circa 1515).
Leonardo da Vinci, Salvatore Mundi (circa 1515).

The New York Times reports that Salvator Mundi (Savior of the World), a panel painting by Leonardo da Vinci, was sold in a private transaction brokered by Sotheby’s last year for between $75 million and $80 million. It is one of only approximately 15 paintings by the Renaissance master (scholars disagree about which works should be included in his oeuvre).

The painting, which dates to around 1515, was once owned by King Charles I of England. Until recently, it was attributed to Boltraffio (an artist who worked in da Vinci’s studio), and sold at auction at Sotheby’s in 1958 for only £45 [$72]. Salvator Mundi is in somewhat damaged condition, with paint loss, a crack in the wooden panel, and evidence of both over-painting and over-cleaning. Purchased in the mid-2000s by New York art trader Alexander Parish, it was owned, prior to the recent sale, by a consortium including Parish and fellow-dealer Robert Simon. In 2011, experts re-attributed the painting to da Vinci.

In June of 2012, the Dallas Museum of Art made a play for the painting but plans fell through later that year. At the time, the asking price for the work was reportedly US$200 million. The details of the current sale are protected by confidentiality clauses.


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