Da Vinci painting shatters records at auction

'Salvator Mundi' by Leonardo Da Vinci has sold at Christie's in New York for US$450 million (NZ$650 million) - smashing the world record for any art sold at auction.

The final bid was US$400 million, but fees brought the total to an eye-watering US$450 million. 

The long-lost painting of Jesus Christ was commissioned by King Louis XII of France more than 500 years ago and only rediscovered as an authentic Leonardo in 2005.

The most expensive art ever sold.
The most expensive art ever sold. Photo credit: Christie's

The artwork was previously sold for just US$60 in 1958, as it was then believed to be painted by apprentices, instead of the master himself. 

The piece almost doubles the price of the previously most-valuable works, including Pablo Picasso's 1955 'Women of Algiers (Version O)', which sold for US$179.4 million, and Amedeo Modigliani's 1917-18 'Reclining Nude', sold for US$170.4 million. 

Record private sales are believed to include US$250 million for a painting by Paul Cézanne and US$300 million for a Paul Gauguin.

Fewer than 20 Da Vinci's paintings may still be in existence.

Newshub.