Stolen 16th century copy of da Vinci’s ‘Salvator Mundi’ recovered

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Jan. 19 (UPI) — A 16th century copy of the world’s most expensive painting, Leonardo da Vinci’s Salvator Mundi, stolen from a Naples museum, has been recovered.

Italian police found the 500-year-old copy of the original painting, which sold for a world-record $450 million at Christie’s auction in New York in November 2017, hidden in a room of an apartment in Naples.

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The priceless copy was found during a search of a Naples apartment, according to a police statement, whose 36-year-old owner was found nearby and charged with receiving stolen goods. The suspect was not identified by name.

The Salvator Mundi copy belonged to the DOMA museum of the Basilica of San Domenico Maggiore in Naples. Police did not specify when the painting was stolen, but the museum reported having the work in its possession in January of last year when it was returned from exhibit in Rome.

The artwork was modeled after da Vinci’s depiction of Christ with one hand raised in blessing and the other holding a crystal orb. Numerous copies were by the Renaissance artist’s students. Though it is not known who painted this particular copy, according to the museum’s website, “there are several hypotheses,” and the “most convincing” credits his student Girolamo Alibrandi.