Salvator Mundi is a painting of Christ as Salvator Mundi (Latin for Savior of the World) by Italian artist Leonardo da Vinci, dated to c. 1500. The painting shows Jesus, in Renaissance dress, giving a benediction with his right hand raised and two fingers extended, while holding a transparent rock crystal orb in his left hand, signaling his role as savior of the world and master of the cosmos, and representing the ‘crystalline sphere’ of the heavens, as it was perceived during the Renaissance.
Around 20 other versions of the work are known, by students and followers of Leonardo. Preparatory chalk and ink drawings of the drapery by Leonardo are held in the Royal Collection. The painting is to be on display at the Louvre Abu Dhabi.
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- Most expensive Painting to be ever sold at auction
It was sold at auction by Christie’s in New York to Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Mohammed Al Farhan on behalf of the Abu Dhabi Department of Culture & Tourism on 15 November 2017, for $450.3 million, setting a new record for most expensive painting ever sold. The painting is to be on display at the Louvre Abu Dhabi.
- This is one of fewer than 20 surviving paintings by Leonardo da Vinci
To say that Salvator Mundi is a rarer-than-rare painting is something of an understatement. Not only is it one of a tiny handful of paintings generally accepted as being from the hand of one of history’s greatest and most renowned artists, but the piece is also the only da Vinci painting in private hands
- It took six years to research and authenticate Salvator Mundi
Its restoration began in 2007. After removing the first layers of over paint, she started to recognize that the painting was by the Milanese master, and eventually concluded that it was an autograph work by da Vinci.
- Opinions still differ over when exactly Salvator Mundi was painted
Although there has been broad consensus that Salvator Mundi was painted by da Vinci, and that it is the single original painting from which many copies and student versions have stemmed, individual experts’ opinions on the dating of the artwork have varied somewhat. The majority of consulting experts believe it is contemporary with The Last Supper, created at the end of da Vinci’s Milanese period in the later 1490s, while some see it as being contemporary with the Mona Lisa, most likely painted in Florence after the artist moved there in 1500.
- The deeper layers of the painting reveal a wealth of hidden secrets
During its 500-year existence, the figure of Christ’s face and hair were overpainted, most likely due to Salvator Mundi’s illustrious provenance gradually being forgotten. Following its restoration, its true details were revealed in all their astounding glory.