"Salvador Mundi," or "the Savior of the World," the last of Leonardo da Vinci's paintings, will be put up for sale at Christie's auction in New York this month, and is expected to rake in at least $100 million, according to the New York Post.
Originally painted in 1500s, the painting decorated the palace of England's King Charles I until it was auctioned by the son of the Duke of Buckingham and Normandy in 1763. After that, the painting reappeared only in 1900, when it was purchased by Francis Cook, a British collector. The picture was painted over in a clumsy restoration attempt that tricked experts into believing it was a copy by da Vinci's follower Bernardino Luini.
The works of Leonardo da Vinci. 'Salvador Mundi' pic.twitter.com/TOO0Dtp1uz— Toys Country House (@ookiokLove) 11 октября 2017 г.
In 1958, Cook's descendants sold the supposed copy for only about $50. In 2005, the painting was acquired by a consortium of art dealers, who restored the painting and initiated an authentication procedure. It took six years to attribute "Salvador Mundi" to the great master himself.
The most recent appearance of the painting was in 2015 when its last publicly known owner, Russian collector Dmitri Rybolovlev, reportedly accused his art dealer Yves Bouvier of financial fraud. The current owner of the painting has not been disclosed.
"‘Salvator Mundi' is a painting of the most iconic figure in the world by the most important artist of all time," Loic Gouzer, chairman of postwar and contemporary art for Christie's New York, said in a statement released by the auction house.
Another painting, a revision of "The Last Supper" by pop art icon Andy Warhol, will also be auctioned at Christie's, with the initial cost of the lot being about $50 million, the auction house's press release says.