The Guardian has a piece this week on the mysterious orb held by Christ in the Leonardo da Vinci painting currently on view at Christie’s. “Solid glass or crystal, whether shaped like an orb or a lens, produces magnified, inverted, and reversed images,” historian Walter Isaacson says of the image. “Instead, Leonardo painted the orb as if it were a hollow glass bubble that does not refract or distort the light passing through it.”
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Steven A. Cohen
Cohen is the billionaire founder and manager of the hedge-fund, SAC Capital Partners. It is estimated that he has spent upwards of $700 million on art work. His collection includes many signature pieces by artists, including a Pollock “drip” painting he purchased from David Geffen for $52 million and famous Damien Hirst shark, “The Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living” for $8 million from Charles Saatchi, on loan to the Metropolitan Museum in 2007.
Other major expenditures include an alleged $63.5 million to Geffen for Willem de Kooning’s “Police Gazette” and $137.5 million for de Kooning’s “Woman III” in 2006. In the last two years, many have speculated that he has spent $25 million on works by Picasso and Warhol. In 1999, he set the record for the price paid for any piece by Edward Munch, paying $11.5 million for his “Madonna”.
In 2006, he attempted to make the most expensive art purchase in history from Steve Wynn, offering $139 million for Picasso’s “Le Reve”. The sale was foiled when Wynn, suffering from an eye disorder, slipped and put his elbow through the painting while showing it off to friends.
Cohen is purported to be building a private museum to display some of his artwork on his Greenwich, Connecticut property.