Hito Steyerl, an internationally renowned filmmaker and writer, opened a Feb. 21 lecture at the Yale School of Art (YSA) with an image of “Salvator Mundi,” an oil painting of Christ attributed to Leonardo da Vinci that sold at auction in November for $450.3 million, a record sale price.
The painting shows Jesus giving a benediction with this right hand while holding a transparent crystal orb in his left.
Steyerl, a Hayden Distinguished Fellow at YSA, compared the orb to the spherical lenses in a virtual-reality headset. She noted that spheres feature prominently in virtual-reality: Clicking on a spherical icon often transports users into realistic virtual worlds.
“I imagine one could click on the ‘Salvator Mundi’ sphere and then find oneself in this scene here,” she said, and presented a recent Facebook 360 video, a platform in which viewers experience a scene in 360 degrees. It featured an avatar of CEO Mark Zuckerburg