- (Photo: CNN)
A recently discovered Jesus painting by Leonardo da Vinci is being revealed to the public eye for the first time starting Nov. 9 in a London exhibition and via a television series.
The painting, titled "Salvator Mundi" (Savior of the World), depicts Christ with his right hand raised in blessing and his left hand holding a transparent globe. It is painted in oil on a wood panel and measures 26 by 18.5 inches in size.
It was discovered at an auction in the United States in 2005 and officially identified as a da Vinci in July of this year. It is the most precious art acquisition of the century, experts say.
The now cleaned and restored 500-year-old work went missing for most of the 17th through the 19th centuries, only to be discovered, hundreds of years later, in a private collection in the United States. It is now owned by a consortium of art dealers, including Robert Simon, a New York-based specialist in Old Masters, according to ArtNews.
Only 15 paintings by Da Vinci still exist, including, "Mona Lisa," "The Last Supper" and "Lady with an Ermine" as probably the most famous ones.
"Salvator Mundi" might presently be worth $200 million, according to ArtNews.
London's National Gallery exhibition, "Leonardo da Vinci: Painter at the Court of Milan," is the most complete display of da Vinci's rare surviving paintings ever held, museum authorities claim. After opening on Nov. 9, the exhibition will run until Nov. 5, 2012. Da Vinci's works from multiple museums across the world were brought to London for the purpose of the exhibition.
The exhibition is inspired by the recently restored National Gallery painting, "The Virgin of the Rocks," museum authorities said.
It is also the first exhibition to be dedicated to da Vinci's goals and techniques as a painter, the museum authorities said in a statement. It concentrates on the work he produced as court painter to Duke Lodovico Sforza in Milan in the late 1480s and 1490s.
"As a painter, Leonardo aimed to convince viewers of the reality of what they were seeing while still aspiring to create ideals of beauty – particularly in his exquisite portraits – and, in his religious works, to convey a sense of awe-inspiring mystery," the exhibition description states.
Works on display will include "Portrait of a Young Man," "Lady with an Ermine," "La Belle Ferronière," "Madonna Litta and Saint Jerome," and the two versions of the "Virgin of the Rocks." The final part of the exhibition is to feature a near-contemporary, full-scale copy of the "Last Supper."
But those who cannot make it to the London exhibition will be able to admire the painting in CNN's new series, "Leonardo – The Lost Painting." The five-episode documentary focuses on the discovery of "Salvator Mundi," how it was purchased by a serendipitous coincident after centuries in obscurity, and how experts from Europe and the Unites States spent months affirming its originality.
The TV series starts on Nov. 11 and runs through Nov. 15 on CNN. You can view a trailer video HERE.