The Mona Lisa painting almost had its value compromised on May 29, when a random person smeared cake on the painting. The man dressed as a woman in a wheelchair to get closer to the artwork, and spread a handful of cake on it. Luckily, there's bulletproof glass covering the painting, which the individual attempted to break. The actual painting is perfectly fine. After the vandalism attempt, how much is the Mona Lisa worth?
The Mona Lisa is currently kept at the Louvre in France. The artwork is known by many as Leonardo da Vinci’s best painting.
How much is the Mona Lisa worth?
The Mona Lisa doesn't have a calculable value, as the UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) has pegged the art piece as having an intangible material value, which means that it doesn't have a physical price tag. However, the painting does hold the Guinness World Record for the highest insurance value of a painting ever, as it was valued at $100 million in 1962.
Adjusting its value with inflation, the painting’s insurance value would be worth around $900 million in 2022, according to National World. If you had to give the Mona Lisa a physical value, the insurance value alone could infer that the art piece would have to be sold for at least a few hundred million dollars, and would easily be the biggest art piece sale ever. But France has no intentions of selling the painting with it being so entrenched in art history.
Leonardo da Vinci currently has two of the most expensive paintings in the world.
To get a better understanding of what a sale of the Mona Lisa would look like, one could look at one of the most expensive art pieces in the world. Salvator Mundi is another painting made by Leonardo da Vinci that currently is the most expensive painting ever sold at $450 million, according to CNN. The painting is widely speculated to have been sold to Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. However, there's much debate about the painting’s authenticity and actual value.
Before Salvator Mundi was bought by the Saudi prince, the art piece was sold on multiple occasions. It was purchased by a consortium of art dealers for under $10,000 in 2005. It was widely assumed that the painting wasn't made by da Vinci himself, but rather his workers in his art studio. In 2013, the painting was declared to have been made by the famous artist himself, and Swiss art dealer Yves Bouvier purchased it for $80 million.
Bouvier then sold the painting shortly after to Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev for $127.5 million. Then, Salvator Mundi was sold for $450 million.
In recent years, the debate about whether the painting was directly created by da Vinci has resurfaced. There have been entities on both sides of the debate about whether or not it's truly authentic. Rybolovlev has been involved in an ongoing lawsuit against Bouvier, claiming that he has been scammed out of overpriced artwork including the Salvator Mundi painting.
There have also been concerns about where the painting is being held. It was expected to be held in the Louvre Abu Dhabi museum, but it isn't clear whether or not it’s actually in the museum. The ongoing concerns about the sale of the famous art piece are one of the reasons why the Mona Lisa may never be sold because it could cause an endless debate about what the painting is truly worth.