‘Salvator Mundi’ is a Latin phrase, and it means ‘savior of the world’. It is part of Christian iconography and depicts Jesus giving a benediction (blessing) with his raised right hand with three of the fingers unfolded symbolizing the Trinity.
The painting depicts Jesus in Renaissance dress, making the sign of the cross with his right hand, while holding a transparent, non-refracting crystal orb in his left, signaling his role as Salvator Mundi (Latin for ‘Savior of the World’) and representing the ‘celestial sphere’ of the heavens.
The 26-inch haunting oil-on-panel painting depicts a half-length figure of Christ as Savior of the World, facing front and dressed in Renaissance-era robes. In his painting, Leonardo presents Christ as he is characterized in the Gospel of John 4:14: ‘And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son as the Saviour of the World.’ Christ gazes fixedly at the spectator, lightly bearded with auburn ringlets, holding a crystal sphere in his left hand and offering benediction with his right.
Da Vinci Created around 1500, this painting of Christ attributed to Leonardo da Vinci is one of the master’s 20 still existing paintings. In 1958 “Salvator Mundi” was sold for just $60 because it was thought to be a copy.
It’s insurance value is the highest in history though: an eye-watering $790 million. The fact that Salvator Mundi was the last work by da Vinci in private hands therefore makes it an extremely enticing prospect for any private collector looking to own a serious piece of art history.
The world had a new Leonardo. Just two years after the National Gallery exhibition, Parish and Simon sold the “Salvator Mundi” to a man named Yves Bouvier for between $75 million and $80 million. Within days, Bouvier had flipped it to Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev for $127.5 million.
Leonardo da Vinci, Salvator Mundi and a PBR rendering of the painting using a hollow orb. … While some have argued that the oddity of the glass ball is evidence that the work is actually by a lesser painter, Leonardo scholar Martin Kemp has said that it was the orb itself that convinced him of the work’s authenticity.
Art scholars agree that the glass orb in the painting symbolizes the world. However, the orb does not refract light in the way an actual glass sphere would. Some art historians believe this proves that da Vinci did not paint the work.
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