Photo: QZ

Anonymous Buyer Cops Damaged da Vinci for $450 Million

Last night, an anonymous buyer in New York dropped a cool $450.3 million on Leonardo da Vinci’s “Salvator Mundi” (Savior of the World), making it the most expensive painting ever sold. For centuries, the painter of the work was unknown. In 2005, a consortium of American art dealers purchased the painting for $10,000 and certified its authorship. In 2013, a Russian buyer purchased the piece for $127.5 million and now this.

The blockbuster sale took place during an auction at Christie’s Rockefeller Center and according to the New York Times, “There were gasps throughout the sale, as the bids climbed by tens of millions up to $225 million, by fives up to $260 million, and then by twos. As the bidding slowed, and a buyer pondered the next multi-million-dollar.”

The previous most expensive panting sold at an auction was Picasso’s “Women of Algiers,” which sold for $179.4 million, which, let’s be real, is still entirely too much money for a painting.

Da Vinci completed “Salvator Mundi” some time between 1450 and 1519, but experts are not entirely sure. They’re also not sure if the painting is even real. “Some art experts pointed to the painting’s damaged condition and questionable authenticity,” the Times wrote.

“The composition doesn’t come from Leonardo,” Jacques Franck, an art historian and Leonardo da Vinci expert told the Times. “He preferred twisted movement. It’s a good studio work with a little Leonardo at best, and it’s very damaged.”

“It’s been called ‘the male Mona Lisa,’” he added, “but it doesn’t look like it at all.”

It most certainly does not.

Also, what’s that orb thing he’s holding in his hand?

Anyways, prior to the sale of the painting, which was owned by Christie’s, there was an intense and remarkable marketing campaign by the auction house to lure in potential investors.

They even made a rather visually engaging and dramatic video to try and attract the big money. The sales pitch features a bunch of actors and actress appearing to marvel at the painting. The video is a little over four minutes and long doesn’t even show the painting and it also could have been cut in half. But hey, it’s not our possibly fake painting to sell.

I don’t know about you, but even if I had $450 million to blow, the last thing I’d spend it on is a possibly fake painting by Leonardo da Vinci. Many could argue that the problems within the art world are perfectly summed up by this sale.

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