Da Vinci Masterpiece Smashes World Art Auction Record
A 500-year-old masterpiece by Leonardo da Vinci that once sold for a mere $60 smashed the world's record for an art auction Wednesday.
"Salvator Mundi," which depicts Christ raising his hand in a blessing, sold for $450 million at Christie's Auction House in New York.
The buyer who was not identified, made his bid by telephone, sending the audience into a frenzy as the price climbed higher and higher.
The seller is Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev.
Only about 20 da Vinci works are known to exist and "Salvator Mundi" is the only one in private hands. The others are in museums or part of large public collections.
Art experts believe da Vinci painted "Salvator Mundi" in about 1500. It was once owned by England's King Charles I. It disappeared, resurfaced, and, at one time, was bought for just $60 by a collector who mistook it for a copy.
It took more than 50 years for art experts to restore it and authenticate it as a genuine da Vinci, although others still doubt it is the real thing.
Until Wednesday, the highest price paid for a painting at auction was $179 million for Pablo Picasso's "The Women of Algiers" in 2015.
HRW Report: Rohingya Women Gang Raped by Myanmar Soldiers
Burmese soldiers have gang raped Rohingya women in continued violence against the Muslim minority in the Rakhine state, according to a Human Rights Watch report.
Human Rights Watch cited first-hand interviews with 52 Rohingya women and girls who fled to Bangladesh and reported being raped by security forces in Myanmar. All but one of the interviewees was gang raped, HRW said.
HRW also spoke with multiple humanitarian organizations in Bangladesh who have reported "hundreds" of rape cases. Numbers of rape victims are likely much higher, as social stigma keeps many women silent. The numbers also cannot account for those who were killed after they were raped.
More than 600,000 Rohingya Muslims have left Myanmar’s Rakhine State since August 25, after insurgents attacked security forces and prompted a brutal military crackdown.
Myanmar’s government has repeatedly rejected claims that atrocities, including rape and extrajudicial killings, are occurring in northern Rakhine.
Myanmar does not recognize the Rohingya and denies them citizenship, referring to them as “Bengali.”
Though Aung San Suu Kyi has been criticized for sidestepping allegations of abuses, many Western governments have been reluctant to ostracize her during a fragile transition to democracy.