Update: Salvator Mundi has just sold at auction for a record $450 million! Here’s the news via the New York Times.
Nearly five hundred years after his death, Leonardo da Vinci is still front-page news. Not only does a new, highly-anticipated biography come out from Walter Isaacson on the 17th, but da Vinci is on the market again with at least one rediscovered piece.
One incredible rediscovered painting that will shortly be up for auction is expected to fetch over $100 million — that’s a whole lot of art supplies. Before its auction, however, it’s being shared with the world. “Salvator Mundi” (which is being billed as “the greatest artistic rediscovery of the 21st century”) is one of only twenty or so paintings confirmed to come from this historic artist. “Long known to have existed, and long sought after, it seemed just a tantalizingly, unobtainable dream until now,” Christie’s Senior Specialist of Old Master Paintings, Alan Wintermute, has said. Painted around the same time as the “Mona Lisa,” it was last sold in 1958 for a staggeringly low $60. Now, it’s traveling from Hong Kong to San Francisco to London to New York, where it will be finally up for auction on November 15th.
If one confirmed da Vinci weren’t enough, the art world is also rife with rumors that one nude sketch is a bona fide precursor to the “Mona Lisa.”It may seem surprising that da Vinci’s more risqué work has flown under the radar for this long, but it would be a major surprise to the art world if we could add the new “Monna Vanna” to the list of da Vinci’s greatest hits. Experts at the Louvre have confirmed the resemblance between miss Mona and the semi-nude subject of “Monna Vanna,” and are seeking proof that would positively connect the two.
What news is next? It seems like, from centuries away, da Vinci still has an active influence on today’s art world. Whether we’re in for a record-setting sale of “Salvator Mundi” or an incredible new take on Leonardo’s life from author Isaacson, it’s safe to say that da Vinci isn’t going anywhere.