Leonardo da Vinci’s Salvator Mundi has sold at auction for a record-breaking $450 million (£342 million). It raises a number of questions: Can a painting really be worth that much? Why are we still obsessed with da Vinci? And then there’s the question that can give buyers sleepless nights – is it even a da Vinci?
This painting has undergone a remarkable transformation in just a few decades. In the 1950s Salvator Mundi (“Saviour of the World”) was sold for just £45 when it was believed to be a copy. Now it’s worth 10 million times that much. That sale, which far surpasses the previous world record set by Paul Gauguin’s Nafea Faa Ipoipo? (When Will You Marry?), which grossed $300 million in 2015.
It is undeniable that most of this value is based on Leonardo’s name. An attractive copy of Salvator Mundia, painted by Leonardo’s assistant Gian Giacomo Caprotti (nicknamed “Salai”), sold at Sotheby’s 10 years ago for just $656,000 – sheer pocket money compared to the amount that changed hands for the original. But the painting’s unusual provenance and some uncharacteristic artistic choices cast doubt on its authenticity. Here are four details that worry the experts:
1. The sphere
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/art/artists/salvator-mundi-mystery-orb-worlds-expensive-painting-real-leonardo/ is the world’s most expensive painting a real Leonardo?