“A picture is worth a thousand words” - you’ve probably heard this phrase before. But is a painting worth a million dollars? So seems to be the case! While we may be able to buy a postcard of Da Vinci or Rembrandt’s works for a few hundred rupees (if not less), the real works are slightly more expensive… than your house - or three houses (actually 300 houses). Today, we take a closer look at the most expensive paintings in the world.
Created: 1490-1500 AD
Artist: Leonardo da Vinci
Price: $450.3 Million USD
Depicting Jesus in Renaissance attire, the painting shows him making the sign of the cross with one hand while holding a transparent crystal orb in the other. The orb is a symbol of his role as the saviour of the world or ‘Salvatore Mundi’. It is speculated that the artwork was painted for Louis XII of France, commissioned in the early 16th century. Several versions of the painting exist, made largely by his followers, with many bringing in their own interpretations and styles. It is one of his most copied paintings, and for several years, the original was thought to have been lost, until it was rediscovered in the late 20th century. Nonetheless, da Vinci’s work remains, of course, unparalleled.
Funnily enough, when included in an inventory of the Royal Collection of the British royal family in the 1650s, it was valued at a mere 30 pounds. in 2005, it was acquired at an auction for just $10,000. For a long time, it was believed to be a copy itself, until it was restored. In 2017, the painting was sold for a whopping $450.3 million, creating a new record.