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Bidding representatives react after Leonardo da Vinci's "Salvator Mundi" sold for $400 million at Christie's. Photo: Julie Jacobson / AP

Leonardo da Vinci's "Salvator Mundi," a painting thought to have been lost in the 1600s, smashed a world auction record by selling for $450,312,500 at Christie's, the auction house. That's all the more remarkable, because there has been speculation the painting may not actually be a Leonardo.

  • The NY Times sets the scene: "19 minutes of dueling, with four bidders on the telephone and one in the room... There were gasps throughout the sale, as the bids climbed by 10's up to $225 million, then by 5's up to $260 million, then by 2's."
  • Leonardo specialist Jacques Franck to the NYT: "The composition doesn't come from Leonardo. He preferred twisted movement. It's a good studio work with a little Leonardo at best, and it's very damaged."
  • Vulture's Jerry Saltz sums up the argument that it's "no Leonardo:" It's "absolutely dead," with a "varnished" and "repainted" surface. Saltz argues that there are only 15-20 existing paintings from da Vinci, and "not a single one of them pictures a person straight on like this one," among other points.

Go deeper

Bipartisan group of senators unveil $908 billion COVID stimulus proposal

Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) in the Capitol in 2018. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call

A bipartisan group of senators on Tuesday proposed a $908 billion coronavirus stimulus package, in one of the few concrete steps toward COVID relief made by Congress in several months.

Why it matters: Recent data shows that the economic recovery is floundering as coronavirus cases surge and hospitals threaten to be overwhelmed heading into what is likely to be a grim winter.

Inside Patch's new local newsletter platform

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Patch, the hyperlocal (and profitable) local digital news company, has built a new software platform called "Patch Labs" that lets local news reporters publish their own newsletters and websites, sources tell Axios.

Why it matters: It follows a growing trend of journalists going solo via newsletters at the national level.

Scoop: Politico stars plot new Playbook

Anna Palmer and Jake Sherman. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Three of Politico’s biggest reporting stars plan to launch a competitor to the company’s Politico Playbook franchise, sources tell me. 

Why it matters:  Jake Sherman, Anna Palmer and John Bresnahan will launch a daily newsletter in 2021 as a stand-alone company, the sources say. In effect, they will be competing against the Playbook franchise they helped create and grow. 

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