Leonardo da Vinci's 'Salvator Mundi' Fetches $450 Million

Leonardo da Vinci's "Salvator Mundi" sold Wednesday night for a reported $450.3 million with fees to an undisclosed buyer -- far exceeding the highest price ever paid at auction for a work of art.

A report in the New York Times noted it surpassed Picasso's "Women of Algiers," which fetched $179.4 million at Christie's in May 2015. The New York Times also noted some art experts have drawn attention to the fact that the painting is damaged, and, although there might be some questions about authenticity, the painting carries "extraordinary" consensus that it is by Leonardo da Vinci.

Before the sale at Christie's Manhattan headquarters, the painting was the subject of a major marketing campaign that included viewings in New York, San Francisco, London and Hong Kong.

According to Christie's, it is believed that Leonardo painted "Salvator Mundi" around 1500, possibly for King Louis XII of France and his consort, Anne of Brittany. Since then, the painting was lost, rediscovered and overpainted in what Christie's calls "one of the greatest and most unexpected artistic rediscoveries of the 21st century."

Christie's says in its timeline of the paining that in 1958, "Salvador Mundi," concealed by overpainting, was ultimately consigned to a sale at auction where it was sold for 45 pounds. And then it disappeared again for nearly 50 years. In 2005, the painting was discovered masquerading as a copy in a regional auction in the U.S. In the following years, it was cleaned, restored, researched, studied and authenticated. It is one of 16 paintings in existence generally accepted as from the artist's own hand, Christie's said.

The New York Times quoted Alan Hobart, director of the Pyms Gallery in London, as saying Christie's marketing campaign was "brilliant," and "This is going to be the future" of art sales.

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