'Rediscovered' da Vinci painting sells for $450M

В США картину да Винчи продали за баснословную сумму

Dated to around 1500, the work sold after 19 minutes of frenzied bidding - an incongruous Old Master in Christie's evening postwar and contemporary sale, which attracts the biggest spenders in the high-octane world of global billionaire art collectors.

"'Salvator Mundi' is a painting of the most iconic figure in the world by the most important artist of all time", said Loic Gouzer, co-chairman of post-war and contemporary art at Christie's.

2 - The Women of Algiers (version 0), an oil by Pablo PICASSO fetched 179.4 million dollars in may 2015, at Christie's in NY. It is the 12th painting to break the $100 million mark at auction, and a new high for any old master at auction, surpassing Rubens's "Massacre of the Innocents", which sold for $76.7 million in 2002 (or more than $105 million, adjusted for inflation).

"There were gasps throughout the sale, as the bids climbed by tens of millions up to $225 million, by fives up to $260 million, and then by twos".

Christie's experts said the painting's rarity was hard to overstate, calling it the "Holy Grail" for auction specialists.

The painting depicts a half-length figure of Jesus, holding a crystal orb in his left hand as he raises his right in benediction.

Its path from Leonardo's workshop to the auction block at Christie's was not smooth.

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The painting, once owned by King Charles I of England, vanished for centuries from the public view until resurfacing in 1900. At that time it was attributed to a Leonardo disciple, rather than to the master himself.

The price could call into question a legal suit lodged by its Russian seller, who accused a Swiss art dealer in Monaco of allegedly overcharging him when he bought the work for $127.5 million in 2013.

The "excitement" for Leonardo's work has been "overwhelming".

Alan Wintermute, Senior Specialist, Old Master Paintings at Christie's commented: "The Salvator Mundi is the Holy Grail of old master paintings".

'We toured Leonardo da Vinci's Salvator Mundi around the world, and at every stop crowds of people were drawn to this painting, wanting to stand in front of the picture and experience it in person.

4 - Three studies of Lucian Freud, a triptych by Francis BACON, was acquired in November 2013 for 142.4 million dollars, again at Christie's in NY. When a controversial piece of such dubious authenticity is sold at prices no museum can afford, making it available only to the increasingly indistinguishable cliques of oligarchs and their head-of-state business pals, it contributes to a market where expertise and devotion to art are dispensed with; the final word on what's a Leonardo and what isn't goes to the highest bidder, not the most knowledgeable or most dedicated scholar.

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