The lost picture of Leonardo da Vinci, which was considered lost, broke the world auction record
November 15 at the auction Christie’s “Post-war and contemporary art” was beaten by a world record. Leonardo da Vinci’s canvas “The Savior of the World”, written about 500 years ago and previously considered lost, went under the hammer for $ 450.3 million, becoming the most expensive work of art in the world auction history. The previous record has been beaten almost twice. Pre-auction exhibition tour, where the picture was shown, was visited by about 30 000 people.
The initial price of the lot was $ 75 million. The “War of Rates” lasted 19 minutes. In total, the auctioneer Jussi Pilkkanen accepted 45 bets. The decisive stake was made by the co-chairman of the Department of Post-War and Contemporary Art Christie’s Alex Rotter on behalf of the client who participated in the auction by phone and wished to remain anonymous.
“The Savior of the World” was at the time of the sale of the last work of Leonardo, remaining in private hands. The picture shows a half-length portrait of Christ holding a crystal ball in his left hand, while the right one raised his blessing in a gesture. The first documentary mention of it is found in the inventory of the collection of Charles I (1600-1649). It is believed that the canvas adorned the queen’s chambers, Henrietta Maria of France in the royal palace in Greenwich, and then inherited by Charles II. The next mention of the painting refers to in 1763, when she was put up for sale by Herbert Sheffield, the illegitimate son of the Duke of Buckingham.
Then the trail of the painting is lost until 1900, when it is acquired by Sir Charles Robinson, but already as a work of Bernardino Luini, one of the followers of Leonardo da Vinci. As a result of this transaction, the “Savior of the World” is replenished by the Kukov family meeting, located in the Richmond Douty House. In 1958, when information about the royal provenance and authorship of Leonardo was lost, the picture went under the hammer in the course of trading Sotheby’s for only £ 45, after which it was again almost forgotten for half a century. In 2005, the canvas was put up for auction, and a new owner bought it. A painstaking research work followed, lasting six years. Only after this, the leading experts on the work of Leonardo da Vinci confirmed the authorship