It doesn’t matter how I write it, abbreviate it or think it about it, that number is far more than a boatload of money. It’s a fully loaded 200 foot yacht, actually, a fleet of them. It’s your own island in the Caribbean. It is Michelangelos' villa in Tuscany, dating to the 11th century, 56 times. It’s 450,000 new iPhoneX, or one heck of a donation to feed starving children all over the world, probably end several diseases, bring clean water to hundreds of rural communities that have to walk miles to get a bucket full, or bring an end to at least one of the overloaded refugee camps in the world.
But instead, it bought presumably the last Leonardo da Vinci painting in private hands, where it will, most likely, remain.
I can’t really begin to wrap my head around this.
So, if one muses for a moment that one has made this wonderful purchase, I might wonder…where does one hang a painting worth $450M? In the den? The living room above the couch (gasp!)? The stairwell? Well, obviously this is a billionaire (or a group of them) who made this purchase, so this writer will consider the new owner(s) have a room created for just this one painting. And a comfy chair or two placed ever so correctly, near enough to become immersed in the artwork, far enough to take it all in. The room would be painted in…hmmm, neutral shades of grays and sage greens, and sport an exotic wood floor that neither attracts attention to itself nor away from the focal point. The kind you can’t really hear shoes on even though it’s real wood. The “Vinci Gallery” as I will call it would be properly lit to have all focus on Salvatore Mundi without any light damage, and of course no windows for the same purpose. The painting is insured and insured again by companies most of us have never heard of, but the alarm system so sophisticated to the Vinci Gallery assure the insurance will never have to be used. Who, after all, would steal something you could never begin to resell?
It is safe to say if you can afford to purchase a painting of this magnitude, then where you will hang it, and the security involved for its safety is most likely not a problem.
A painting that is only attributed to him, decades and decades of its life are unaccounted for, its provenance is mysterious. I once read a book about a successful art forger. There wasn’t an artist he couldn’t replicate and managed to age any substrate to where even the most discerning eye and chemical tests went uncontested. He put thousands of forgeries in the market place, and eventually was caught. His new employment is identifying forgeries, and still runs across his own work listed as the real thing. My mind plays with the “what if’s”….
Inevitably my thoughts turn to the artist. Were he alive, what would he feel about a painting he may (or may not?) have created, selling for such an exorbitant sum? Thrilled? Happy? Overjoyed? Would he think the price ridiculous? Embarrassed? My guess he would be humbled, perhaps a bit confused of all the fuss.
A genius of a man, thought to possibly be the most intelligent of all time surpassing the likes of Einstein and Jobs, I imagine him returning to his quiet studio, alone. Here he is found frantically drawing out intricate plans and jotting notes along side in his legendary mirrored writing. So as not to disturb the genius deep in thought I move quietly, and pause to glance over his shoulder.
There, on a dog-eared page, is the plan to end political strife, world poverty, wars of now and wars of the future. Worth far more than the $450 million price tag of a mere painting,
Love to All!