A newly discovered painting by Renaissance master Leonardo da Vinci has sent shock waves through the art world, prompting speculation that more of his paintings could be as yet undiscovered.
The "Salvator Mundi" was, for years, thought to be a painting by one of da Vinci's pupils or associates. But after a lengthy period of study and conservation, it has been authenticated as a da Vinci.
The painting was sold in 1958 for £45 -- about $125 in today's currency -- by descendants of British collector Sir Frederick Cook, who bought the painting in 1900. Today, the painting is estimated to be worth $200 million, according to some scholars.
Though the conservator who helped to reveal the painting's true identity called it "the rarest thing imaginable," speculation is rife that there are other Leonardo da Vinci paintings still at large, possibly lying unknown in private collections.
There are currently some 15 authenticated Leonardo da Vinci paintings in the world. But they are difficult to attribute, because da Vinci often left his works unfinished and some are thought to have been worked on by other artists in his workshops.
Martin Kemp, Emeritus Research Professor in the History of Art at Oxford University and a leading expert on Leonardo da Vinci, gives the careful estimate that there are probably no more than 20 paintings by the master in the world, which suggests there could be five more to be discovered.
$125, and worth more than a million times that: arguably the greatest attic sale fail in modern history (or win, if you're the folks who bought it and then had the painting authenticated.) Still, the notion that Leonardo's other lost paintings are out there may be one of the greatest treasure hunts of all time. Going to make a hell of a movie.