Salvator Mundi, the only Leonardo da Vinci painting held in a private collection, has been put up for auction.

New York auction house, Christie’s, unveiled the rare piece of art earlier this week.

The painting will go under the hammer next month as part of the Christie’s Evening Sale of Post-War and Contemporary Art auction. The event is being held at Rockerfeller Plaza, New York on 15 November at 7pm.

The auction house will be holding viewing sessions from 4 November to 11 November for those interesting in bidding.

Christie’s expects the Salvator Mundi to fetch $100m, given the rarity of Leonardo da Vinci’s work. There are only 15 paintings by the 15th century artist left in the world that have been confirmed as authentic.

Should Salvator Mundi reach its guide price, it would place it among Vincent van Gogh’s Portrait de l’artiste sans barbe ($105m) and Pablo Picasso’s Les Noces de Pierrette ($95m) as one of the most expensive painting sales of all time.

Christie’s have kept the seller’s details quiet. However, the Associated Press has said that the artwork is currently part of a “private European collection”.

This makes Salvator Mundi the only known Leonardo da Vinci piece currently in private hands. The 14 other paintings are part of public collections, such as Britain’s National Gallery and the Louvre in Paris, France.

As a result, interest is expected to be high, as it will likely be some time before a Da Vinci painting is next on the market.

Following the announcement, Louis Gouzer, Chairman of Post-War and Contemporary Art at Christie’s said:

“The opportunity to bring this masterpiece to the market is an honour that comes around once in a lifetime.”

What is Leonardo da Vinci’s Salvator Mundi?

Salvator Mundi is an oil painting that is thought to have been painted by Da Vinci during the late 15th or early 16th century. The artwork depicts Jesus Christ in Renaissance clothing.

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Gouzer describes it as “a painting of the most iconic figure in the world by the most important artist of all time”.

Salvator Mundi - Verdict

According to old records, the artwork was created for King Louis XII of France. The painting eventually found its way into King Charles I of England’s private collection. Salvator Mundi then went missing for hundreds of years after it was sold off in the 1700s.

Initially thought to be a copy, the painting was found to be the original Da Vinci piece in 2011. Having been painted over and damaged, it took six years for its authenticity to be confirmed.

The painting had gone under the hammer 50 years earlier and sold for just £45.