On November 15, 2017, Christie’s Auction House helped write another chapter in the ongoing story of a painting known as Salvator Mundi, or “Savior of the World.” The oil-on-walnut depiction of Christ was painted by Leonardo da Vinci. It’s one of fewer than twenty Leonardo works known to exist.
The winning bid: $400 million, plus more than $50 million in fees, making it, by far, the most expensive painting ever sold at auction.
Salvator Mundi (shown above) was created during the early 1500s. It was owned by several English kings.
Then, in 1900, the painting was purchased by a British collector, whose descendants sold the piece in 1958 after it was damaged by restoration attempts. The sale price: about 60 bucks American.
Sold again in 2005, the image had been so heavily painted over that the work was thought to be merely a copy of a Leonardo. But, after more than six years of research and its inclusion in a 2011 National Gallery exhibition, the painting was accepted as authentic.
It’s an amazing story that begins at the hands of history’s predominant creative genius, and includes royalty, a good amount of mystery, dismissal, and a re-emergence of the work. It’s that provenance and the 500-year adventure the painting’s been on that justifies – or at least explains – the world-wide interest and the record-smashing auction price.
People love a great story. And they’re often willing to pay more for the privilege of being associated with it.
So, what’s your story? We can help you tell it, just as we help Christie’s. We provide Caller Experience Marketing services to their New York City, Los Angeles and London offices.