Salvator Mundi

Salvator Mundi Restored


Salvator Mundi

Salvator MundiSalvator Mundi, which means "Savior of the World" in Latin, is a small (46 x 66 centimeters) oil painting on a wood panel that depicts Jesus in Renaissance attire giving a benediction. His right hand is raised and his left hand holds a transparent orb (right) to signify this.

Salvator Mundi is the most expensive painting sold in the history of the world.

350,000,000% Appreciation in 59 Years

Thought to be the work of Giovanni Antonio Boltraffio, a pupil of Leonardo da Vinci, Salvator Mundi was bought in 1958 for 45 Pounds Sterling (~$130 at the time).
Forty seven years later in 2005, three art dealers paid $10,000 for it, had it cleaned and restored over the next 6 years, then had it authenticated in 2011 as a work of Leonardo da Vinci himself. In 2013 they sold Salvator Mundi for $75 million to Yves Bouvier, a Swiss art dealer, who quickly flipped it for $127.5 million to the Russian oligarch Dmitry Rybolovlev, who sold it in 2017 to Mohammed bin Salman, the Saudi crown prince, for a cool $450 million.

Is Salvator Mundi worth $450 million?

Many say it isn't, for the following four reasons.

1.  Its provenance (see Priceless Paintings) is weak. No one knows where Salvator Mundi has been since it was supposedly painted in the 15th century. Theories abound but even they have gaps, some lasting hundreds of years.

2.  In 2005, three art dealers paid $10,000 for it because they thought it might be a da Vinci, and then handed it off to the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art's Dianne Dwyer Modestini, who spent the next 6 years restoring it. When she received Salvator Mundi, Modestini, one of the most respected painting conservators in the world, didn't recognize it as a da Vinci, who also painted The Last Supper.
Salvator Mundi3.  Salvator Mundi should have been authenticated in 2005, before Modestini spent 6 years to restore it - i.e., fix up what she received (right) to make it look the way she thought it should look.

4.  Before auctioning Salvator Mundi in 2017, Christie's of New York sent it on a worldwide promotional tour and pulled out all the stops, even calling it "the male Mona Lisa." For generating this blasphemous hype, Christie's kept $50 million of the $450 million as its sales commission, so the intrinsic value of Salvator Mundi is at most $400 million.

Has anything about "Salvator Mundi" been confirmed to be 100% authentic?

See this.

How much of the $450,000,000 spent on Salvator Mundi was wasted?

Read this, and this if you like the significance above.