Last privately owned Da Vinci painting to be auctioned

Last privately owned Da Vinci painting to be auctioned”

The Russian billionaire is to auction off a painting by Leonardo Da Vinci Salvator Mundi (Savior of the World), which he owns.

Dating from around 1500, Salvator Mundi, which depicts Jesus Christ as the world's saviour, was long believed to be a copy of an original by the Italian master, until it was eventually certified as authentic.

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

A third-party guarantee has been arranged for the painting, which ensures it will sell for around the estimate of $100 million on 15 November, said Francois de Poortere, head of the Christie's old masters department in NY.

'To see a fully finished, late masterpiece by Leonardo, made at the peak of his genius, appear for sale in 2017 is as close as I've come to an art world miracle. Long-known to have existed, and long-sought after, it seemed just a tantalizingly unobtainable dream until now. In 1958, it was sold for 45 pounds as one of the works of the Da Vinci School at an auction in the UK.

Only an estimated 15 original da Vinci's are known to remain, and each of them exists with an entire canon of work surrounding each - the origins, the goal, the possible meaning, form, technique - and we could go on.

The painting remained elusive for nearly 50 years after that, till it surfaced in 2005 when it was acquired by a consortium of American businesspeople.

The auction house prepared the Warhol's painting for sale a few months ago, after which the Christie's management appealed to the owner of Salvator Mundi offering him to make a match for the painting. It is estimated to fetch a staggering US$100 million.

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