"Salvator Mundi is a painting of the most iconic figure in the world by the most important artist of all time", said Loic Gouzer, Chairman, Post-War and Contemporary Art at Christie's in NY. It is the first discovery of a Leonardo painting since 1909.
The portrait depicts Christ in royal blue robes against a dark background, facing the viewer while holding a glass orb in his left hand.
It was painted around the same time as the Mona Lisa and has been dubbed by many as "the male Mona Lisa" due to its similarities to the iconic painting. "No one will ever be able to fully grasp the wonder of Leonardo's paintings, just as no one will ever be able to fully know the origins of the universe".
News of the painting's existence emerged in 2011 when it was included in the National Gallery of UK's blockbuster Leonardo exhibition.
It is the last da Vinci painting in private hands, as well as one of fewer than 20 da Vinci paintings known to exist. It was later in the collection of their son, Charles II. He ordered the auction of artworks following the sale of what is now Buckingham Palace to the king.
It then disappeared for 140 years - until 1900, when it was bought by Sir Charles Robinson as a work by Bernardino Luini, a follower of Leonardo.
It went into the Cook Collection at Doughty House in Richmond, southwest London, and remained there until the collection was dispersed.
Next, the painting was auctioned in 1958 for 45 pounds after which it disappeared once again for almost 50 years, emerging only in 2005.
It disappeared again for almost half a century.
At this point, it was attributed to one of Leonardo's pupils, Giovanni Antonio Boltraffio, but clearly there was a hunch - a desperate hope perhaps - that the work was by the master himself.
Christie's announced Tuesday that the depiction of Jesus, titled "Salvator Mundi", will be offered November 15. After its re-emergence in 2005, it took six years to authenticate it. "To see a fully finished, late masterpiece by Leonardo, made at the peak of his genius, appear for sale in 2017 is as close as I've come to an art world miracle".
"The word "masterpiece" barely begins to convey the rarity, importance and sublime beauty of Leonardo's painting", Wintermute said, as reported by The New York Post.