A 500-year-old painting of Christ believed to have been painted by Leonardo da Vinci has been sold in New York for a record $450m (£341m).
The painting is known as Salvator Mundi (Saviour of the World).
It is the highest auction price for any work of art and brought cheers and applause at the packed Christie’s auction room.
Leonardo da Vinci died in 1519 and there are fewer than 20 of his paintings in existence.
‘Mona Lisa nude sketch’ found in France Salvator Mundi, believed to have been painted sometime after 1505, is the only work thought to be in private hands.
Bidding began at $100m and the final bid for the work was $400m, with fees bringing the full price up to $450.3m. The unidentified buyer was involved in a bidding contest, via telephone, that lasted nearly 20 minutes.
The painting shows Christ with one hand raised, the other holding a glass sphere.
In 1958 it was sold at auction in London for a mere £45.
By then the painting was generally reckoned to be the work of a follower of Leonardo and not the work of Leonardo himself.
It apparently was part of King Charles I of England’s collection in the 1600s and got lost, but was “rediscovered” in 2005.