Salvator Mundi reappeared in a sale at Sotheby’s in 2005, after years being traded as a pauper’s painting, thought to be by a follower of da Vinci, and was sold for £10,000 to a consortium of buyers including Alexander Parish. The painting began to attract interest. Among the people who saw it early was Professor David Ekserdjian, an art historian with an interest in da Vinci. Experts in forensics as well as art historians arrived to inspect it – da Vinci the scientist would have appreciated their collaboration – and after some cleaning and X-rays a consensus began to emerge: this was by da Vinci’s own hand.
In 2013, Rybolovlev, who not only lives in Monaco but also owns its football club, opened his wallet again. This time is was for the Salvator Mundi, a painting that only recently been given the stamp of authenticity, and for $127 million.
15 November 2017, New York
Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519)