Biblical Archaeology Review 41:6, November/December 2015

Pricey Painting

In 1914 the czar of Russia purchased Leonardo da Vinci’s Benois Madonna for $1.5 million. It now hangs in the Hermitage in St. Petersburg, Russia.

In 2015 the New York Times computed how long it would take a person making the average per capita income at the time to earn enough to buy the picture for the price it had been sold. In addition to the Benois Madonna, the Times computed the figure for paintings by Cézanne, Van Gogh, Picasso and Gauguin.

Leonardo’s Benois Madonna led all the rest. The average annual per capita income at that time was $404. At that rate it would take the earner 3,713 years to earn enough to purchase the Benois Madonna.

Join the BAS Library!

Already a library member? Log in here.

Institution user? Log in with your IP address.