Salvator Mundi

I have just been asked my opinion (on Sky News) on the sale of Leonardo’s Salvator Mundi for $450 million (including commission).   It is indeed a staggering price, particularly given that it was sold in 1958 from the Cook Collection in Richmond for £45.   It was then heavily overpainted and regarded by experts as a copy after Boltraffio.   It surfaced in the United States in 2005 and was apparently sold for $10,000.   It was only once it had been cleaned and restored by a consortium of dealers that it was accepted by scholars as authentic and shown as such in the National Gallery’s Leonardo exhibition in 2012.   The estimate this time round was $100 million, which itself was more than any other Old Master painting has previously sold at auction.

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