The last unearthed Leonardo da Vinci painting will be on display in San Francisco until Friday.
Da Vinci’s "Salvator Mundi" ("Savior of the World') — a stunning portraiture of Jesus Christ — is being exhibited at the Minnesota Street Project in the Dogpatch neighborhood until Oct. 20. This is its first public showing in the United States since it was confirmed to be a work by da Vinci, where it arrived from a showing in Hong Kong.
It may very well be, to quote a statement by Christie’s, “the greatest artistic rediscovery of the 21st century.” But its history is just as compelling.
Commissioned by Louis XII of France, it was owned by Charles I of England before his execution and transferred to the Duke of Buckingham. The Buckingham Palace was then acquired by George III in 1761, who auctioned off "Salvator Mundi" two years later before it vanished.
Upon its re-emergence after nearly two centuries, "Salvator Mundi" traded hands repeatedly by collectors who, at that point, believed it to be a work of Da Vinci’s acolytes. It was housed in a collection owned by British merchant Sir Francis Cook before it was auctioned off for £45 in 1957 — approximately $1,300 when adjusted for inflation — and vanished again. "Salvator Mundi" was then put up for auction at an American estate sale in 2005, where it was sold for a small sum to a collective of global scholars and curators from institutions like the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the National Gallery of Art and the University of Oxford.