A long-lost painting by Leonardo da Vinci has sold for a staggering US$450m (NZ$655m). The painting broke auction sale records, fetching the highest price of any piece of artwork in the world.
The 500-year-old piece of art is known as “Salvator Mundi”, which translates to “Saviour of the World”. The painting features an image of Jesus Christ holding a glass sphere with his other hand raised, and was commissioned by King Louis XII of France.
Bidding started at US$100m at a post-war and contemporary art auction at Christie’s in New York. Auctioneer Jussi Pylkkänen described it as a “historic moment”, with bids jumping up in $10m and $20m sections, reports The Guardian.
Pylkkänen said the sale was a major achievement. “It’s the zenith of my career as an auctioneer. There’ll never be another painting that I shall sell for more than this painting tonight.”
It is thought that there are less than 20 of Leonardo da Vinci’s paintings left in the world. Christie’s released a video earlier this week of celebrities including Leonardo DiCaprio and Patti Smith viewing the famous piece of art.
Loïc Gouzer, who sourced the painting for Christie’s, said the price of the sale reflected da Vinci’s relevance. “The work of Leonardo is just as influential to the art that is being created today as it was in the 15th and 16th centuries,” he said, adding that the sale is “a testament to the enduring relevance of this picture.”