Commentary: ‘Leonardo’ sells for $450.3 million, but what did the buyer actually get?

This undated handout photo provided by Robert Simon, shows a painting recently authenticated as the work of Leonardo da Vinci.  “Salvator Mundi,” dating to around 1500, will be on display at the National Gallery in the fall as part of a larger exhibition on the Renaissance artist, the London museum said Monday, July 11, 2011. It depicts a half-length figure of Christ with one hand raised in blessing and the other holding an orb. (AP Photo/Robert Simon) NYR102

If nothing else, the astonishing amount someone or some institution paid for “Salvator Mundi” proves that with a handful of artists, Leonardo da Vinci pre-eminent among them, any amount of authenticity is sufficient for marketers, salesmen and audiences.

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