The painting for auction was Leonardo da Vinci’s once-presumed-lost “Salvator Mundi.” The painting of Jesus Christ was commissioned by King Louis XII of France more than 500 years ago. This piece is one of only 16 known surviving Leonardo da Vinci pieces. Most of these pieces are found in museums around the world.
After 19 minutes of battling bids, during which the bids rapidly moved from $100 million to over $300 million, the numbers soon reached $370 million. It then came down to just two bidders, both enjoying long pauses of contemplation. In the end, the ultimate buyer made two large jumps in price to shake off the other bidder and become the new owner of the magnificent piece for $400 million, plus auction premium.
The sale makes this Leonardo da Vinci piece the highest-priced work of art sold either privately or at auction. Previously, the largest sum paid for a work of art at an auction was $179.4 million for Picasso’s “Women of Algiers” and the highest priced private sale was $300 million for Willem de Kooning’s “Interchange.”