The Russian Billionaire Behind Christie's Controversial $450M Leonardo

"It was process that began shortly after the work was discovered - heavily veiled with overpaints, long mistaken for a copy - in a small, regional auction in the United States in 2005". That is the magic of his work'. Members of the public cared little if at all whether the painting might have been executed in part by studio assistants; whether Leonardo had actually made the work himself; or how much of the canvas had been repainted and restored.

Earlier, 27,000 people had lined up at pre-auction viewings in Hong Kong, London, San Francisco and NY to glimpse the painting of Christ as "Savior of the World".

A 500-year-old painting believed to be by Leonardo da Vinci sold for $450.3 million in NY on Wednesday, blazing a new world record for the most expensive work of art sold at auction, Christie's said. Salvator Mundi evokes joy, ecstasy, anger, awe - it just touches every emotion.

The painting was first recorded in the Royal collection of King Charles I (1600-1649), and thought to have hung in the private chambers of Henrietta Maria - the wife of King Charles I - in her palace in Greenwich, and was later in the collection of Charles II.

The artwork, which disappeared until 2005, was later purchased by a British art collector, and was sold for just $60 in 1958 as it was widely believed not to be an original da Vinci.

So huge was interest that almost 30,000 people flocked to see the painting at Christie's showrooms in Hong Kong, London, San Francisco and NY, the auction house said. "I went home and didn't know if I was insane". The painting is expected to sell at auction for $100 million on Wednesday.

6 - A table without a title of the American Jean-Michel BASQUIAT has been sold for $ 110.5 million on may 18, 2017 in NY at Sotheby s.

Francois de Poortere, head of Christie's old master paintings department, said the painting has been referred to "Male Mona Lisa". "The opportunity to bring this masterpiece to the market is an honor that comes around once in a lifetime". After centuries of hiding, da Vinci's Christ as "Salvator Mundi " stirred unmatched sensation in the art world when it was unveiled on the walls of London's National Gallery in 2011.

When the sale was first announced by the auction house back in October, thousands of people visited exhibitions to see the painting including in cities like New York, San Francisco, London, as well as Hong Kong. Its rediscovery was followed by six years of painstaking research and inquiry to document its authenticity with the world's leading authorities on the works and career of da Vinci.

  • Gwendolyn Kim