Leonardo da Vinci, “Salvator Mundi” (c.1500), oil on panel, 25 7/8 x 18 in.(65.7 x 45.7 cm) (courtesy Christie’s)
“Salvator Mundi” (c. 1500) sold at Christie’s for $450,312,500 (inc. buyer’s premium) after just under 20 minutes of bidding, becoming the most expensive artwork ever sold at auction. Christie’s hired an outside PR firm for the first time in order to conduct its marketing campaign — branded “The last da Vinci” — which included a video of viewers stunned in awe before the painting. The record price was set despite concerns regarding the precise attribution of the work from figures like Michael Daley, Frank Zöllner, and Jerry Saltz. A Guardian article published last month regarding Walter Isaacson‘s new biography of Leonardo was later revised with an editor’s note explaining that the piece “is the subject of a legal complaint made on behalf of Christie’s International Plc.” Isaacson subsequently took to Facebook to clarify his stance that the work was created by Leonardo.