The last privately owned Leonardo da Vinci painting, depicting Jesus Christ as the 'Saviour of the World', which was sold in 1958 for just 45 pounds may fetch a whopping USD 100 million at an auction in the US. Titled Salvator Mundi or the Saviour of the World, it was painted by one of the history's greatest and most renowned artists, whose works are exceedingly rare - fewer than 20 paintings in existence are generally accepted as from the artist's own hand, Christie's auction house said. The masterpiece, dating from around 1500, depicts a half-length figure of Jesus Christ as Saviour of the World, dressed in celestial blue clothes, holding a crystal orb in his left hand as he raises his right in benediction. News of the painting's existence emerged in 2011 when it was included in the National Gallery of UK's blockbuster Leonardo exhibition.
The painting was long believed to have existed but was generally presumed to have been destroyed. It belonged to King Charles I of England, where it is recorded in the inventory of the royal collection drawn up a year after his execution, the auction house said. However, the painting disappeared from 1763 until 1900 when it was acquired for the Cook collection. Next, the painting was auctioned in 1958 for 45 pounds after which it disappeared once again for nearly 50 years, emerging only in 2005. "Salvator Mundi is a painting of the most iconic figure in the world by the most important artist of all time," said Loic Gouzer, Chairman, Post-War and Contemporary Art at Christie's in New York. "The opportunity to bring this masterpiece to the market is an honour that comes around once in a lifetime," Gouzer said. "Despite being created approximately 500 years ago, the work of Leonardo is just as influential to the art that is being created today as it was in the 15th and 16th centuries," he said. The painting is estimated to fetch USD 100 million. The panel of the painting is 65.5 x 45.1 centimetres top and 45.6 cm bottom. The painted image dimensions are 64.5 x 44.7 cm. The auction will take place on November 15 in New York.
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