According to Christie's, the painting once belonged to King Charles I of England in the mid-1600s. Rybolovlev's family trust sold the painting, through Christie's, to an undisclosed buyer, but if his name sounds familiar for other reasons, that might be because in 2008 he paid (through a company he controlled) $95M to buy a Palm Beach mansion from Donald Trump. The auction house hosted public viewings of the painting for more than 27,000 people in cities around the world before the sale.
The price could call into question a legal suit lodged by its Russian seller, who accused a Swiss art dealer in Monaco of allegedly overcharging him when he bought the work for $127.5 million in 2013.
The auction, held by Christie's, shattered records, more than doubling the amount spent on the most expensive piece of art ever sold.
Andy Warhol's monumental 1986 work "Sixty Last Suppers" based on da Vinci's work, sold for $US60,875,000, while two works by fellow American painter Cy Twombly added more than $US73 million to the kitty, with Untitled, 2005, selling for $US46,437,500 and Sunset (1957) selling for $US27,312,500.
Leonardo da Vinci's masterpiece "Salvator Mundi" has sold at Christie's in NY for $450,312,500 - a world auction record for any work of art.
Scholars believe the Leonardo painting is one of few works by Leonardo to survive the centuries since his death and the only one in private hands.
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The painting depicts a half-length figure of Jesus, holding a crystal orb in his left hand as he raises his right in benediction.
Christie's has exhibited the painting in Hong Kong, San Francisco, London and NY in the weeks prior to Wednesday's sale.
A staff member poses with a painting by Leonardo da Vinci entitled "Salvator Mundi" in London on October 24, 2017, before it is auctioned in NY.
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In New York, where no museum owns a Leonardo, art lovers lined up outside Christie's Rockefeller Center headquarters on Tuesday to view "Salvator Mundi".
"Toward the end, Alex Rotter, Christie's co-chairman of postwar and contemporary art, who represented a buyer on the phone, made two big jumps to shake off one last rival bid from Francois de Poortere, Christie's head of old master paintings". The price tag of the classic piece of artwork makes it the highest valued painting in history. It's wonderful it's in NY.
Christie's declined to comment on the controversy and had valued the painting pre-sale at $100 million. Since it resurfaced, it has been exhibited at the National Gallery in London and at Christie's showrooms all over the world.
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For years it was presumed to have been destroyed, emerging only in 2005 when it was purchased from a U.S. estate.