(NEW YORK, LANKAPUVATH) –The last remaining Leonardo da Vinci painting in private hands is expected to fetch £75million at auction – 60 years after it was sold for £45.
“Salvator Mundi” – or “Saviour of the World” – was painted by the Italian artist in around 1500, the same period he created The Mona Lisa.
It is one of 15 known paintings by da Vinci and was at one stage in the Royal collection of King Charles I (1600-1649).
Salvator Mundi disappeared until 1900 when it was acquired by Sir Charles Robinson as a work by da Vinci’s follower, Bernardino Luini, for the Cook Collection, Doughty House, Richmond.
The painting’s authorship by da Vinci, origins and illustrious royal history had been forgotten, and Christ’s face and hair were overpainted.
Sotheby’s sold the painting, unaware of its true provenance, in 1958 for £45.
The depiction of Christ, feared lost forever, re-emerged in 2005 when an American businessman bought it at a small auction house for less than £7,500 ($10,000) in the USA.
In 2011, following six years of investigations, the work was confirmed as a genuine da Vinci work of art and unveiled publicly – making it the first discovery of a painting by da Vinci since 1909.
Christie’s has announced it would be selling Salvator Mundi at its Evening Sale of Post-War and Contemporary Art on November 15, 2017 in Rockefeller Plaza.
The auction house has given it an estimate in the region of £75 million ($100 million).
Loic Gouzer, chairman, post-war and contemporary art at Christie’s, New York, said: “Salvator Mundi is a painting of the most iconic figure in the world by the most important artist of all time.
“The opportunity to bring this masterpiece to the market is an honour that comes around once in a lifetime.
“Despite being created approximately 500 years ago, 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.
“We felt that offering this painting within the context of our Post-War and Contemporary Evening Sale is a testament to the enduring relevance of this picture.”