For a time, it was part of the royal collection of King Charles I of England but at a moment, in 1763, it disappeared for nearly a century and a half. The painting spent centuries in obscurity until it was rediscovered in 2005 and underwent a six-year restoration and verification process. Now, it was sold at auction Wednesday for $450,312,500 by Christie’s. It was “the most expensive painting ever sold at auction,” the auction house said in a statement. The bidding, coordinated by Christie’s New York office, lasted a little less than 20 minutes. The identity of the winning bidder was not known.
“Saviour of the World” painting of da Vinci
In the weeks leading up to the auction, some 27,000 people, including Leonardo DiCaprio, Alex Rodriguez, Patti Smith and Jennifer Lopez, flooded into viewing halls in Hong Kong, London, San Francisco and New York for a chance to glimpse the famous painting. At auction, the painting was guaranteed to sell for at least $100 million. The painting made its public debut at London’s National Gallery in a 2011 exhibit titled, “Leonardo da Vinci: Painter in the Court of Milan.”