The subject of the painting is Jesus Christ portrayed as Salvator Mundi, which in Italian means "Saviour of the World." To merit the title, a painting must show one hand in a gesture of blessing while the other holds an orb symbolizing the world.
|acanthuslabs.com | theartnewspaper.com|
|acanthuslabs.com | The World of Leonardo, Time-Life|
The painting passed from King Charles II to the Duke of Buckingham by 1660, and was sold by the Duke's descendants in 1783.
The location of Salvator Mundi between 1783 and 1900 is unknown, and perhaps it was in this period that someone tampered with the painting, essentially hiding it from view.
In 1900, Frederick Cook bought the painting, and in 1958 his descendants sold it in a lot for the equivalent of $100, to a buyer named Kuntz. It was in turn sold to an American family who sold it in 2005, at which time it was brought to Modestini for restoration.
The painting is one of 16 surviving da Vinci's, and is currently valued between $100-200-million.
|Salvator Mundi and a detail from The Last Supper | acanthuslabs.com | dailymail.co.uk|
According to CNN, when the conservator Dianne Dwyer Modestini was finished with the restoration and parted with Salvator Mundi, she "described suffering separation anxiety and depression over losing the painting, and with it her connection to the enigmatic painter who was its author."