In an astonishing turn, Leonard da Vinci’s portrait of Jesus Christ sold for $450 million at auction in New York on Wednesday.
And just like that, “Salvator Mundi” became the most expensive piece of art, far outpacing Willem de Kooning’s “Interchange,” which sold for $300 million in December 2015.
Prior to the sale, experts predicted the da Vinci’s piece would sell for roughly $150 million.
USA Today reports:
The work is believed to be just one of 20 known paintings by da Vinci, who began crafting it around 1500 using a painstaking layering technique that often saw works completed over years.
Among da Vinci’s other fabled paintings — he was also a brilliant inventor — are The Last Supper and the Mona Lisa, which, like all of his other works, belong to museums.
The staggering price paid for the modestly sized portrait in fact reflects the rare opportunity for an anonymous collector to add a da Vinci to their collection.