A little bit on that later, first the facts. The painting sold for $450.3 million U.S or $575 Canadian. The auction took place at Christie'sin New York (which by the way also sold Picasso's Women of Algiers for the previous record breaking sum of $179.4 million, in May 2015). The buyer, at first as usual anonymous, turned out to be a mighty wealthy fellow from the United Arab Emirates who plans to exhibit the painting in his new Louvre Abu Dhabi, together with some 150 artworks from the Louvre in Paris museum. The painting in question, titled Salvator Mundi, dates back to 1500s, and is the first da Vinci to be found since 1909. When it was re-discovered in 2005, it caused quite a stir in the art circles, for the great Renaissance artist is known to have produced fewer than 20 paintings in his lifetime and all seemed to be accounted for. This time Christie'smade a unprecedented move to advertise the artwork before the auction, hiring an outside agency to do the PR work and even creating a video to pitch the painting to prospective buyers. It also put it in a contemporary sale. Oh, and it also bravely called the work 'the last da Vinci'.

But the painting is not without controversy and some art experts are questioning its authenticity, never mind its damaged condition. Looking at this artwork, I too am a tad doubtful if it really is a Leonardo. It's a bit like Malcolm Gladwell's 'blink' theory (or The Power of Thinking without Thinking), where you just have a feeling but cannot put your finger on it. In Gladwell's book, the first essay 'The Statue That Didn't Look Right', deals with a similar situation, concerning an ancient statuette that all the experts have confirmed to be real, including via carbon testing and the rest. Except for a few, who upon seeing the kouros declared it a fake. And it was.

There's already a joke going around. Question: Why did Christie's put the Leonardo da Vinci in a contemporary sale? Answer: Because most of it was painted within the past decade.

Can't wait for the next instalment of the da Vinci saga...

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