LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A recently rediscovered Leonardo Da Vinci painting valued at $192 million may find a new home at the Dallas Museum of Art, a spokesperson for the museum said on Friday.
The "Salvator Mundi" ("Savior of the World") is currently at the Dallas Museum of Art and the museum has been "actively exploring the possibility of acquiring it," communications officer Jill Bernstein told Reuters
The painting, an image of Christ giving his blessing to the world with his right hand and holding a crystal orb in the left, was among the highlights of the "Leonardo Da Vinci: Painter at the Court of Milan" exhibition at the National Gallery in London last year.
The Dallas Museum's interest was first reported Art in America magazine, which said the museum's new director Maxwell Anderson may be looking for "a destination painting" to attract crowds.
Da Vinci's painting, dated around the early 1500s, measures 26 18.5 inches. Commissioned Louis XII of France in 1506, it was once documented as part of England's King Charles I's art collection in 1649, then auctioned off and forgotten.
The oil-on-wood panel, with the image distorted over time overpainting and layers of dirt and varnish, was sold in 1958 for as little as 45 pounds ($70) when it was considered to be the work of one of Da Vinci's students called Giovanni Boltraffio.
In 2005, it was taken to New York art historian Robert Simon, and eventually an extensive restoration was performed. Experts then noticed some of Da Vinci's hallmarks in the work - especially the colors and the reflection of light from the orb - and the piece was declared a genuine work the Italian Renaissance artist.
(Reporting Piya Sinha-Roy; Editing Bob Tourtellotte and Gunna Dickson)