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The latest news on Art from Business Insider
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    Thick Utensil Plate

    Athens-based architect Katerina Kamprani has created a collection of everyday objects that are intentionally designed to annoy you.

    Titled "The Uncomfortable," Kamprani's project consists of simple household items that are impossible to use, like a thick knife or a twisted watering can. Her unique designs, which recently went viral on Reddit, are as fascinating as they are infuriating.

    Take a closer look at her project and the internet's hilarious reactions below.


    Kamprani first started making conceptual 3D visualizations before creating prototypes like the one below.

    "The first prototypes were made by Jung Von Matt for a mailing ad campaign in 2015," Kamprani told INSIDER.

    Each prototype is designed to deconstruct the "invisible design language" of a common household object.

    As Kamprani explained, every object has a "user guide" implicitly built into its design — "little clues that tell us how [it] should be approached and used."

    She continued: "For example, there are so many different handles that can be pulled or pushed or turned. Usually, once we see an object with a handle, we know what to do because we recognize familiar forms that we have used before."

    "My goal since I started The Uncomfortable has been to break this design apart and understand what makes it so important," the architect told INSIDER.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Louvre Abu Dhabi just opened 10 years after the project was announced in 2007.

    The art museum, designed by French architect Jean Nouvel, cost over £1 billion to make.

    Abu Dhabi is renting the name "Louvre" for 30 years andy paid France £399 million to do so.

    They also loaned 300 artworks from France, which cost £571 million.

    Just like Paris, the museum has a Da Vinci portrait,"La Belle Ferronniere," which is also on loan.

    There are more than 620 pieces and artefacts on display including Degas, Van Gogh, Monet, and Picasso. There's also a Napoleon painting from Jacques-Louis David.

    Only 235 pieces are from the museum's own collection. Loans come from 13 French museums like Pompidou, Musee d’Orsay, and Versailles.

    Produced by Claudia Romeo


    Join the conversation about this story »

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    philip mould oil painting woman in red

    • An art dealer was able to wipe off 200 years' of varnish within seconds.
    • Philip Mould used a mixture of gel and solvent to clean the painting.
    • The 17th century painting depicts a woman in an elaborate dress.
    • Watch videos of the restoration below.

    An art dealer has been able to wipe off varnish accumulated over 200 years within seconds.

    Philip Mould, who presents the BBC "Fake or Fortune?" show, tweeted photos and videos of the work in progress. Some 7.5 million people have already seen his footage since Monday, he noted.

    The painting portrays a woman dressed in an elaborate 17th century dress, complete with what appears to be feathers and lace. It was originally part of a private collection in England, Mould told The Telegraph.

    "All we know is she is 36 and it was painted [in] 1618,"Mould tweeted, citing the painting's inscription.

    He used a mixture of gel and solvent to remove the top layer of varnish without damaging the paint underneath, he told The Telegraph.

    Varnish is often used to protect and preserve oil paintings from the elements.

    Here's what the painting looked like before the cleaning. You can see a yellowish tint over certain parts of the painting, including the woman's face.

    And here it is being cleaned.

    "A remarkable Jacobean re-emergence after 200 years of yellowing varnish," Mould said.

    Mould certainly garnered more praise than Cecilia Giménez, who got such bad reviews of her attempt to restore her church's 19th century fresco of Jesus, or Ecce Homo, that tourists travelled all the way to the town of Borja, Spain, to see it.

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Here's what losing weight does to your body and brain

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    London-based artist Adam Hale makes incredible collages using pictures from free magazines.

    He has worked with big brands like Adidas, YouTube, Mulberry, Christian Louboutin, and ELLE magazine.

    Plain paper is his signature background. He says he likes to keep his 'splices' simple.

    Some collages are made using digital tools too.

    Produced by Claudia Romeo

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    britney spears painting

    • Britney Spears can now add artist to her resume after one of her paintings was sold for $10,000 at the charity auction Vegas Cares.
    • The lucky buyer was entertainment reporter Robin Leach, who was also the event's auctioneer.
    • Proceeds from the event went to the victims of last month's tragic Las Vegas massacre.
    • Spears said in a video message to the attendees, "I'm so proud to call Vegas my second home... the flowers in my painting represent a new beginning, and it's in that spirit that we move forward."
    • The pop star has a concert residency at the Planet Hollywood casino that's set to end on December 31.

    Remember when Britney Spears unveiled her love of painting in a viral Instagram video? Nearly five million people watched the bizarre video, set to Mozart, in which the singer paints flowers on a canvas outdoors. Now, the childlike-looking piece has actually found a buyer!

    Last night, English entertainment reporter Robin Leach shelled out $10,000 for the painting, which Spears donated to Vegas Cares, an auction to benefit the victims of last month's Las Vegas massacre, according to Jezebel. Leach was serving as the evening's auctioneer, but couldn't resist making a bid of his own when it came time to find a buyer for the pop star's artistic handiwork.

    "I'm so proud to call Vegas my second home and I'm pleased to participate in this Vegas Cares show," Spears told the auction attendees in a video message. "The flowers in my painting represent a new beginning, and it's in that spirit that we move forward."

    It’s #RobinLeach, who just auctioned this @britneyspears piece to ... himself! Yes! Great $10k moment #VegasCares @venetianvegas

    A post shared by John Katsilometes (@johnnykats1) on Nov 5, 2017 at 2:47pm PST on

    Since December 2013, Spears has had a concert residency, "Pieces of Me," at the Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in Las Vegas, performing there some 50 times a year. The long-running "concert experience," as it is billed, will close December 31, at the end of her contract.

    The money raised by the Vegas Cares benefit will be used to erect a memorial art piece commemorating the 58 victims killed in the shooting, which left over 500 injured. The evening also saw performances by Jewel, the Blue Man Group, David Copperfield, and Penn and Teller, a local ABC affiliate reported.

    Sometimes you just gotta play!!!!!! 🤓😜💋💅🏻👩‍🎨🎨👯👗👛👒👠🦄🦋🐠🌹💥💥

    A post shared by Britney Spears (@britneyspears) on Oct 13, 2017 at 11:53am PDT on

    While Vegas has been keeping her busy, Spears's interest in art dates to at least 2015. "I have an art room, and I just paint on the walls and do all this kind of crazy stuff," she told Australia's 2DayFM "Dan & Maz Show," according to Hello Giggles. "I bought [Mariah Carey's] new greatest hits, and her new 'Infinity' record yesterday, and I was just in there with my top off, just like painting and doing all this artsy fartsy stuff."

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    SEE ALSO: Britney Spears reportedly spent close to $11 million of the $16 million she earned in 2016

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    van gogh

    • Researchers found a grasshopper trapped in the paint of one of Vincent Van Gogh's most famous works.
    • The painter was known to have loved painting outside.
    • The grasshopper was studied to see if it could reveal anything about the painting's history, such as time of year or location.
    • This is not the first time a hidden secret has been found in one of Van Gogh's works.


    Some paintings keep their secrets under the paint, but for Vincent van Gogh's 1889 painting Olive Trees, the secret has been hiding in plain sight - if you know where and how to look.

    More than a century after the artist completed his work, researchers have discovered a surprising 'guest' lurking in the paint - and they used it to try and discover more about how the artwork was created.

    Conservator Mary Schafer at The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City recently discovered a 128-year-old grasshopper forever preserved in the paint of the Olive Trees, although it's so small it could only be spotted under magnification.

    If you're a painter working outdoors, keeping your paint detritus-free is no mean feat. It's also well-known from his letters to his brother Theo that Van Gogh liked to paint outside - or en plein air, as artists call it.

    In an 1882 letter, he inventoried new equipment that would enable him to transport and set up his materials for outside painting; and in an 1885 letter, the hardships of painting outdoors.

    van gogh

    "But just go and sit outdoors, painting on the spot itself," he wrote.

    "Then all sorts of things like the following happen - I must have picked a good hundred flies and more off the four canvases that you'll be getting, not to mention dust and sand [..] not to mention that, when one carries them across the heath and through hedgerows for a few hours, the odd branch or two scrapes across them."

    Sometimes these foreign materials embedded in the paint can help tell more about when and where the artwork was created.

    "It is not unusual to find insects or plant material in a painting that was completed outdoors," Schafer said.

    "But in this case, we were curious if the grasshopper could be used to identify the particular season in which this work was painted."

    In the case of Olive Trees, we know where and roughly when it was painted. It was during Van Gogh's self-admitted stay at the Saint-Paul asylum in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, France from May 1889 to May 1890.

    van gogh olive trees grasshopperMichael S. Engel of the Museum of Natural History was called upon to help identify the insect and see if the species could tell us during which season the masterpiece was created.

    Unfortunately, all Engel was able to confirm was that the grasshopper's head and thorax were missing, and the paint around it was undisturbed, which means it was already dead by the time it hit the canvas.

    Alas, nothing about the time of year the painting was made could be gleaned. But, Schafer noted, it makes a good talking point about the painting.

    "We're able to talk about the grasshopper with our visitors in a fun way, learn about Van Gogh's process and how he painted," she said.

    "The grasshopper's discovery connects viewers with Van Gogh's painting style, and the moment in which he made the work."

    Painting over old works, often to re-use canvases, has been a common practice for centuries. With the tools of modern science, researchers and conservators have revealed hidden masterpieces from PicassoDegas and even Da Vinci.

    This is not the first time one of Van Gogh's paintings has yielded up a secret, either. In 2008, researchers using X-ray discovered that the artist's 1887 work Patch of Grass had been painted over an earlier portrait.

    In 2012, X-ray techniques revealed a pair of wrestlers, painted when the young artist was just a student, and subsequently painted over with flowers, previously thought to be the work of an unknown artist. In that case, the hidden picture confirmed that Van Gogh was the author.

    SEE ALSO: How 2 directors, 125 artists, and some crazy-rich Van Gogh fans made the world's first painted feature film

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Millions of people are obsessed with this app that turns you into a work of art

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    The Insider Picks team writes about stuff we think you'll like. Business Insider has affiliate partnerships, so we get a share of the revenue from your purchase.


    I've lived in my current apartment for six months, and I still have yet to find wall art my partner and I both like enough to hang in it.

    We're picky about what we should hang on our walls. Neither of us wants to decorate our space with Van Gogh reproductions and movie posters. Like a lot of people, we want to decorate it with wall art and photos that mean something to us.

    Recently, I stumbled across an answer to our problem in the form of a website called Grafomap that lets you design map posters of any place in the world.

    You can make one of your hometown, your college town, your favorite travel destination, or the place where you got engaged or married — you're only limited by your imagination.

    Once you enter your desired location, Grafomap takes you to its poster editor where you can further customize your location down the exact address or coordinates. After that, you can continue personalizing your map by adjusting, panning, and zooming the map exactly to your liking, adding or removing text, and selecting the size, frame, and orientation. Additionally, Grafomap has a variety of unique color themes to choose from (including Noir, Popart, Minimal, and Modern) that transform your map from just an ordinary map into a work of art you'll love displaying in your home.

    My custom map poster of Sint Maarten took all of five minutes to create, and the finished product is undeniably cool. It's also very affordable. An 18"x24" print sets you back $49. If you want to get something a little bigger and that's ready to hang right out of the box it's shipped in, you can get a 24"x36" framed print for $168. (Full disclosure: I got to try the service for free.)

    Learn more about how Grafomap's custom poster editor works below. And try it out for yourself here.

    SEE ALSO: The 10 best purchases I've made to save space in my small apartment

    Start by selecting a location for your map poster. I chose Sint Maarten since my partner and I have been vacationing there together for years.

    Once you enter your desired location, Grafomap takes you to its poster editor where you can continue personalizing your map by adjusting, panning, and zooming the map to your liking, adding or removing text, and selecting the size, frame, and orientation.

    Grafomap's uses OpenStreetMap (OSM) open source geodata database to generate maps and Mapbox design filters to add a design on top of OSM data. This Mapbox service was developed for companies like AirBnB and Uber, but Grafomap is the first company to repurpose this tool for art.

    I most enjoyed toggling between color themes. My favorites were Wheatpaste, Modern, and Popart.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    salvator mundi leonardo da vinci christie's

    • The Leonardo da Vinci painting "Salvator Mundi," which just sold for a record $450 million, has an unusual flaw.
    • It doesn't obey the laws of physics in a crucial way that's uncharacteristic of da Vinci.
    • The flaw has led some historians to question the painting's authenticity.
    • Defenders say he did it on purpose.

    "Salvator Mundi," a painting that has been identified as one of Leonardo da Vinci's lost works, sold for a record $450 million at a Christie's auction Wednesday night. 

    A major flaw in the painting — which is the only one of da Vinci's that remains in private hands — makes some historians think it's a fake. The crystal orb in the image doesn't distort light in the way that natural physics does, which would be an unusual error for da Vinci.

    See that crystal orb?

    Salvator Mundi da vinci painting christies skitched

    It's transparent in a way that shows exactly what's behind it.

    A real glass sphere would show a distorted version of what's behind it.

    Da Vinci's version shows a clear version of Christ's robe, as if it were a window pane.

    Take this image, for example. See how the light filtered through the glass renders the image upside-down?

    glass orb mountain reflection

    The sphere in da Vinci's painting wouldn't show such a drastic flip, because the orb is close to Jesus's body. But the reflection should at least be distorted.

    It appears to be a rookie mistake.

    Da Vinci painted the portrait — of Jesus Christ dressed in Renaissaince Era clothing, crossing his fingers in one hand and holding a crystal orb in the other — around the year 1500. After being bought and sold a few times, the painting was lost to history. In 2011, it was rediscovered and authenticated as one of da Vinci's works.

    But the glass orb raises some doubts about the painting's authenticity. It's especially puzzling, writes Walter Isaacson in his biography of the artist, because da Vinci was famously fastidious about the reflection and refraction of light in his work. At the time he made "Salvator Mundi," he was "deep into his optics studies" and filled his notebooks with diagrams of light bouncing at different angles, according to The Guardian.

    "Solid glass or crystal, whether shaped like an orb or a lens, produces magnified, inverted, and reversed images," Isaacson writes. "Instead, Leonardo painted the orb as if it were a hollow glass bubble that does not refract or distort the light passing through it."

    While the painting was widely confirmed as a da Vinci in 2011, some scholars have suggested that "Salvator Mundi" was a product of da Vinci's workshop, or was made by another follower without the master's talent.

    ArtWatch UK director Michael Daley told The Guardian that there wasn't enough evidence to prove the painting's authenticity. "The Salvator Mundi is dead-pan flat, like an icon, with no real depth in the modeling," Daley said. "Another unexplained peculiarity is that the figure itself is heavily and uncharacteristically cropped."

    leonardo dicaprio da vinci

    Defenders of the painting's authenticity say that da Vinci ignored physics on purpose, perhaps to illustrate Christ's powers. Isaacson himself believes it was an intentional decision to paint it that way and does not believe the painting is a fake.

    Christie's speculated that Da Vinci included a distractingly incorrect glass globe because he didn't want to distract viewers from Christ himself. According to Reuters, most art scholars have agreed that the painting is an authentic da Vinci. 

    "It is our opinion that he chose not to portray it in this way because it would be too distracting to the subject of the painting," a spokeswoman told The Guardian.

    The history of "Salvator Mundi" has had a lot of twists and turns. It was sold at auction in 1958, with its authorship unknown, for less than $100.

    In the late 2000s, it was sold again, restored, and identified as a da Vinci work. The painting was displayed in London's National Gallery in 2011. In 2013, the chemicals billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev purchased it for $127.5 million. 

    The $450 million purchase price beats previous records by a mile. The most that was ever paid for a piece of art at auction was $179.4 million, for Picasso's "Women of Algiers (Version O)" in May 2015. The most ever paid for a work of art overall was $300 million, for Willem de Kooning's "Interchange" in September 2015. 

    Editor's note: This article has been updated to reflect Walter Isaacson's position on the authenticity of the painting.

    SEE ALSO: Rare Leonardo da Vinci painting sells for record $450 million

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    salvator mundi auction christies

    • Leonardo da Vinci's "Salvator Mundi," the world's most-expensive painting, was auctioned off for a staggering $450 million.
    • You can't rush art.

    The world's most expensive painting was auctioned off at a staggering price of $450 million Wednesday, offering a glimpse not only at the supposed artwork of a world-renowned artist, but the prohibitively expensive world of art.

    Bidding on Leonardo da Vinci's "Salvator Mundi," which translates to "Savior of the World,"opened at $70 million, but increased almost immediately to $95 million. The 26-inch-tall depiction of Christ dates back to around 1500, and is one of the fewer than 20 artworks in existence that is generally accepted to be from Leonardo da Vinci.

    As the price went up, agents could be seen frantically discussing the developments over the phone with their clients. During the proceeding, Jussi Pylkkänen, Christie's Global President and auctioneer for the sale, made a few classy quips during the process.

    "Are we all done," Pylkkänen coolly asked the room at one point, gesturing toward the busy agents. "Maybe not, don't take the photograph quite yet."

    "Will you give me 290," Pylkkänen asked one of the agents.

    "300," the agent replied.

    "I thought so," Pylkkänen said, amid gasps and applause. "$300 million. Let's see if that's done it."

    But the bidders weren't done. Nearly 20 minutes after the start of the auction, the last bid was finalized with an audible smash of Pylkkänen's gavel. A buyer's premium and fees would eventually be tacked on to the final bid, bringing the total price to $450,312,500.

    Around 1,000 people were reportedly packed into Christie's Auction House in New York to bear witness to the historic event, while thousands more watched a live-stream. The video now has more than 1.5 million views.

    "It is every auctioneer's ambition to sell a Leonardo and likely the only chance I will ever have,' Pylkkänen said, according to Christie's. "It's the pinnacle of my career so far."

    "The excitement from the public for this work of art has been overwhelming and hugely heartening."

    Watch the video here:

    SEE ALSO: Rare Leonardo da Vinci painting sells for record $450 million

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    Leonardo da Vinci painting

    • Russian billoinaire Dmitry Rybolovlev recently sold a Leonardo da Vinci painting for a whopping $400 million — but who is he?


    Christ’s right hand is raised to bless the person who looks at it. Who now will hang Salvator Mundi in his or her palace and stand in front of the Christ to receive that blessing?

    Up until this week, it was Dmitry Rybolovlev, a Russian fertiliser salesman whose recent years have been spent intertwined with the trajectory of Donald Trump — hardly what Leonardo da Vinci would have imagine as he painted the Saviour of the Earth.

    Rybolovlev was the man who bought Trump’s seaside Florida mansion, Maison de l’Amitie, for $95 million, giving the now US President the accolade of having owned one of the world’s most expensive homes, and giving him a $50 million profit in just four years. "It’s the rare case where the arrival of a guy who sells s*** for a living actually improves the neighborhood," noted Vanity Fair.

    n 2013, Rybolovlev, who not only lives in Monaco but also owns its football club, opened his wallet again. This time is was for the Salvator Mundi, a painting that only recently been given the stamp of authenticity, and for $127 million.

    Now with the Robert Mueller investigation of Donald Trump and his Russian connections. Will there be questions for Rybolovlev?

    Just before the 2016 election, his jet landed at the same obscure airport as Trump’s just before the latter was about to address a rally nearby. Earlier that summer his yacht had docked in Croatia as Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner holidayed there. Rybolovlev said the planes were a coincidence and that he had never met Kushner.

    For anyone who is dealing in art valued in the hundreds of millions, there is the back story to how they made their money, what they choose to spend it on and why they chose to sell. For Rybolovlev that is an unfinished story.

    Salvator Mundi reappeared in a sale at Sotheby’s in 2005, after years being traded as a pauper’s painting, thought to be by a follower of da Vinci, and was sold for £10,000 to a consortium of buyers including Alexander Parish. The painting began to attract interest. Among the people who saw it early was Professor David Ekserdjian, an art historian with an interest in da Vinci. Experts in forensics as well as art historians arrived to inspect it — da Vinci the scientist would have appreciated their collaboration — and after some cleaning and X-rays a consensus began to emerge: this was by da Vinci’s own hand.

    "If it is meant to be one the hangers-on, they have their own look — a visual handwriting," says Ekserdjian. "It doesn’t conform to any of those people. It looks perfectly consistent with later Leonardo." What’s more, X-rays reveal that the thumb was originally painted in a different position. "It would be pretty weird if you are copying it to think: I will change the thumb, or put it back it where it always was."

    Dmitry Rybolovlev

    There was also engraving of the painting in the 1650s that refers to the original as by da Vinci. The consortium offered it to London’s National Gallery for its 2011 Leonardo exhibitions. It hangs alongside Lady with an Ermine and La Belle Ferronière and earns its authenticity in the eyes of the world.

    "I was Trustee [of the National Gallery] at the time," says Ekserdjian. Curators make the decisions, but if I had thought this was a dud I would have been obligated to ask, 'Are you sure this is a wise move?'"

    Shortly after the exhibition the painting was bought by Swiss art dealer Yves Bouvier for $80 million at Sotheby’s. Bouvier knew Rybolovlev wanted it. It arrived at Rybolovlev’s Manhattan penthouse a couple of days later, in March, with a rather different price tag of $125 million.

    Three years later and the two were involved in a protracted legal dispute, with Bouvier accused of having swindled him by marking up the price and pocketing the profit. Bouvier was at one point arrested while entering one of the fertiliser king’s properties. He denies the charges.

    That might be why, when it arrived on the books at Christie’s, the painting’s estimated price was $100 million, a shade below what Ryobolvev had paid for it, which in turn gave rise to a number of people querying why it was so cheap. Among them was artist Jonathan Yeo. "It does make one question the sanity of the art market," observed Yeo, comparing it to a Jean-Michel Basquiat that had sold for $110 million. Perhaps it was a nod to the Bouvier dispute, a way of getting an auction house to confirm its notional value. That didn’t happen. Instead, the price quadrupled and the hunger to be the owner of that particular work proved the piece’s worth.

    On Wednesday night this week, the Christie’s sale was packed out. Among the usual suspects of buyers was a range of some of the richest people in the world. Giancarlo Giammetti and his partner, the designer Valentino, had taken a keen interest, visiting the da Vinci when it was on show. Giammetti Instagrammed the auction catalogue, on which he’d scribbled "400 millions!!" as it happened. A spokesman said Valentino, a man of considerable wealth and with a nice Picasso, had not entered the bidding.

    Liu Yi Qian, a Chinese billionaire art collector who’d started life as a taxi driver, spent $170 million on a Modigliani a couple of years ago, clearly wanted it. He sent his congratulations to whoever the buyer was on WeChat, a Chinese social-media feed, adding: "I feel kind of defeated right now."

    Michael Bloomberg, a billionaire with exquisite taste and money whose new London headquarters are a showcase for art, would certainly have the two required elements. His office hasn’t returned calls. And the new buyer could well be from the Middle East —Abu Dhabi’s new Louvre would accommodate such a painting nicely.

    Professor Ekserdjian noted that the auction had one key moment. Auctions normally go up in steps of 10, an auctioneer taking a bid for $80 million, then asking for $90 million, for example. When the bidding for Salvator Mundi climbed steadily to $370 million — already smashing all previous records for art — the phone bidder called in $400 million, a $30 million jump. That is someone with money to burn.

    "If you were an institution you would go to the next bid [ie, $380 million],” said Professor Ekserdjian, who has been a trustee of the National Gallery and previously worked for Christie’s for six years. That $30 million jump? “That is telling your opposition to get lost," he says.

    "It has to be assumed it would only be done by somebody from a culture where it was a cool thing to do — China, Japan, the Middle East?” And it is a perfect number “It would sound far less cool to get it 395 than 400. If it is made public, that is also part of the appeal: you are the person who did that thing — getting the richest prize in the world of art."

    Salvator Mundi has also become one of the most ungodly pieces of art, as the disputes over the rather base question of money, showmanship and greed revolve around a work whose value has skyrocketed in just a decade, despite nothing in its substance having changed. Whoever that person is, who now has da Vinci’s Christ with its eerie eyes looking down on him, or her, may well need a blessing.

    Join the conversation about this story »

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