Touted as one of the most important artistic discoveries in the last century, a portrait recently attributed to Leonardo da Vinci could soon be the most expensive painting ever sold.
Long believed to be the work of a protégé, a panel of experts from Italy, Britain and the US were shown the newly restored painting and, thus convinced, that “Salvator Mundi” was created by the master himself.
Salvator Mundi, or “Savior of the World,” depicts Christ holding his hand up in blessing while embracing the world with his other hand.
Once owned by the likes King Charles I and Sir Francis Bacon, the painting was eventually sold for a mere 50 Euro in 1958.
A group of American art dealers who bought the portrait at an estate sale six years ago were convinced it might be worth something. Covered by hundreds of years of dirt and several layers of paint from poor restoration projects, the painting had to be delicately restored.
Once the grime was removed, the brilliant reds and blues of the portrait emerged. By comparing the style and colors to The Last Supper, the panel of experts was convinced that Salvator Mundi could be attributed to Leonardo da Vinci.
The painting will likely go on display in Britain’s National Gallery in November. After that, the artwork will be auctioned off by its owners.
ARTnews magazine reports that the painting could fetch as much as $200 million, beating the current record for most expensive painting ever sold- Jackson Pollock’s “No 5, 1948,” which went for $140 million in 2006.