A long-forgotten painting, it was authenticated in 2008 as a lost masterpiece of Leonardo Da Vinci by some of the world’s greatest Da Vinci experts in London. One such expert remarked that the painting had “presence.”
Despite rumblings in the art community that the painting was illegitimate, and possibly the work of Da Vinci’s imitator, Bernadino Luini, the portrait of Christ was unveiled for the first time in the National Gallery in 2011. Six years later, it sold at Christie’s and became the most expensive painting ever auctioned. It was purchased for the Louvre Abu Dhabi and was scheduled to be unveiled in September 2018. However, for the time being, it has been postponed without explanation.
Whilst some critics have taken the postponement to mean that the painting has been discovered to be a fake, the most likely theories suggest that there has been significantly more restoration required on the painting than previously anticipated. Some images have been released of the restoration, which has cleaned back some of the original treatment by respected restorer Dianne Dwyer Modestini.
With only 20 or so Da Vinci paintings surviving today, the Salvator Mundi – if indeed authentic – is truly priceless – which explains why it tops our list at an enormous sale price of $450,300,000.