Christie's unveils Leonardo da Vinci's 'Salvator Mundi' at Christie's New York on October 10, 2017 in New York City..
(photo credit: ILYA S. SAVENOK/GETTY IMAGES FOR CHRISTIE'S AUCTION HOUSE/AFP)
NEW YORK - The last privately owned Leonardo da Vinci painting and one of fewer than 20 by the Renaissance artist known to still exist is hitting the auction block, Christie's announced on Tuesday.
"Salvator Mundi," an ethereal portrait of Jesus Christ which dates to about 1500, is expected to sell for about $100 million at Christie's in November, making it among the highest-estimated works ever to be sold at auction.
"This is truly the Holy Grail of art rediscoveries," said Alan Wintermute, Christie's senior specialist for Old Master paintings, explaining that the portrait sometimes called the male Mona Lisa had long been thought to have been lost or destroyed.
The portrait, which depicts Christ in vivid blue and crimson robes and holding a crystal orb, is one of fewer than 20 da Vinci paintings still in existence, Christie's said, and is the last one remaining in private hands.
The auction house did not identify the seller, a European private collector who acquired the work after its rediscovery and restoration, which began around 2005.
"Salvator Mundi" will be sold at Christie's in New York on Nov. 15. sign up to our newsletter