Leonardo da Vinci's 'Salvator Mundi' sold for whopping $450.3 million at Christie's

Da Vinci portrait of Christ sells for record $450.3 million in New York

Leonardo da Vinci's 'Salvator Mundi' sold for whopping $450.3 million at Christie's

But the new record was set after approximately 20 minutes of telephone bidding, far surpassing the previous auction record held by Picasso's "Les Femmes d'Alger", which sold for $179.4 million in 2015. The highest known sale price for any artwork had been $300 million, for Willem de Kooning's painting "Interchange", sold privately in September 2015 by the David Geffen Foundation to hedge fund manager Kenneth C. Griffin.

Original estimates had predicted bids of over $100 million for the piece. It depicts Jesus Christ in Renaissance clothing, one hand raised in blessing and the other holding a crystal orb.

Its path from Leonardo's workshop to the auction block at Christie's was not smooth. At that time it was attributed to a Leonardo disciple, rather than to the master himself.

The painting was sold again in 1958 and then was acquired in 2005, badly damaged and partly painted-over, by a consortium of art dealers who paid less than $10,000 (€8,500).

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Art critics have said that the quality of the painting isn't the best, and some even question its authenticity.

First commissioned by Louis XII of France, the 26 inch tall by 18 inch wide oil painting was later owned by England's Charles I. But the artwork had been presumed lost since the late 18th century.

The painting called "the Savior of the world", implemented on Thursday, November 16, at auction in NY has features, which suggests a possible fake.

Svetla Nikolova, who is from Bulgaria but lives in NY, called the painting "spectacular". His painting "Salvator Mundi" sold on Wednesday night for $450.3 million to a still undisclosed buyer from Christie's Rockefeller Center headquarters on November 15. "It should be seen". (SOUNDBITE) (English) CHRISTIE'S DEPUTY CHAIRMAN OF IMPRESSIONIST AND MODERN ART FOR NEW YORK, CONOR JORDAN, SAYING: "Not only does it add public excitement around the sales and it brings in perhaps more people than would normally come through our doors, but it also sparks all sorts of great conversations around the art and adds a greater richness I think to the sale season". I'm so lucky to be in NY at this time.

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