The painting, marketed as the last Leonardo da Vinci in private hands, has a history fit for a feature film.
Leonardo da Vinci‘s Salvator Mundi just sold at Christie’s for $450.3 million, becoming the most expensive work of art ever sold. But not so long ago, an eagle-eyed buyer purchased it at auction for a mere £45. How did we get from there to here? We’ve compiled a handy timeline of the painting’s history below. You really can’t make this stuff up.Recently:
• 1500 – Around this time, Leonardo da Vinci paints Salvator Mundi, likely for King Louis XII of France and Anne of Brittany, shortly after the conquests of Milan and Genoa.
• 1625 – Believed to have been commissioned by the French Royal Family, the painting accompanies Queen Henrietta to England when she marries King Charles I.
• 1651 – King Charles I dies in 1649, and shortly thereafter the canvas is used to settle part of his massive debt. It covers a whopping £30 worth.
• 1763 – After remaining in the Royal family’s collection for years, the painting goes missing—and doesn’t surface again for 150 years.
• Late 19th century – The painting enters the collection of the Virginia-based Sir Frederick Cook.
• 1958 – Salvator Mundi pops up at a Sotheby’s London auction on June 25, 1958. Attributed to Boltraffio, who worked in da Vinci’s studio, it sells for £45 to someone named “Kuntz.”
Felix Salmon Talks Da Vinci: "Notes on $450,312,500 "
ICYMI: Leonardo da Vinci’s ‘Salvator Mundi’ Sells for Record-breaking $450.3 Million