When art experts believed that an oil painting entitled Salvator Mundi had been painted by a follower of Leonardo da Vinci, the work sold for $60 USD at a Christie’s auction in 1958. But in 2007, after a conservator removed layers of paint that had been added over the centuries, scholars changed their assessment. They decided that Salvator Mundi was a da Vinci original. On 15 November 2017, the 500-year-old painting will be auctioned once again, but this time it could sell for over $100 million USD.
Uncovering a Renaissance masterpiece:
- The Renaissance master painted Salvator Mundi -- which means “savior of the world” -- around 1500, in the same period when he created the Mona Lisa.
- The painting shows Jesus Christ giving a benediction with his raised right hand, while holding a crystal sphere in his left.
- Before the restoration, the piece was described as “a wreck, dark and gloomy.” So much paint had been added that experts had assumed it was a copy.