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Controversial Salvator Mundi, Stolen Last Year, Has Been Recovered

The controversial Salvator Mundi, often attributed to Leonardo da Vinci, was recovered a year after it was stolen in Naples.

The work went missing from the Museum of San Dominico Maggiore last year. Now, the Italian police have claimed to recover the painting from an apartment mere miles away from the museum. They have also arrested the person who reported the canvas under the suspicion of dealing with stolen artefacts.

The painting portrays Jesus Christ raising one hand in a blessing, while the other hand is holding a crystal orb. Salvator Mundi created history in 2017 when it became the most expensive work ever sold at an auction. The winning bid of $450.3 million was made by an anonymous bidder, later suspected to be Saudi Arabia’s crown prince Mohammad bin Salman. The painting went missing from display after the auction.

Museum of San Domenico Maggiore

The history of the painting is perhaps more intriguing than the painting itself. It is considered to be made by Leonardo da Vinci sometime in the 1500s. Some art historians disagree, claiming that it was likely created by one of his students in his studio. Over the years, the value of the painting has fluctuated as one or the other claim became stronger. In 2005, it was bought by two American art dealers for merely $1,000. After years of research, they were able to establish that the work was indeed made by da Vinci himself. In 2008 it was taken to Louvre Museum, who reiterated the claim, and later displayed at London’s National Gallery in 2011.