The Lost Leonardo follows the art sale trail of Salvator Mundi

“The Lost Leonardo” film shown at Rome Film Festival

Culture News

The painting ‘Salvator Mundi’ by Leonardo da Vinci is Jesus Christ blessing with his right hand and with his left hand holding a transparent globe. It is the subject of a documentary film – The Lost Leonardo currently showing at the Rome Film Festival.

The painting ‘Salvator Mundi’ is an oil on wood 66cm by 46cm and created around 1500. t resurfaced at the beginning of the 20th century and sold for the equivalent of €140. In 2005, two ‘sleeper hunters’ – Robert Simon and Alexander Parish – bought it for just over €1,000.

They removed the superficial layer of paint and found the face of Christ.  

After a few more sales, it ended up in an auction in New York at Christie’s, in November 2017. There a Saudi prince bought it for €450 milion.

“The Lost Leonardo” by Andreas Koefoed

“The Lost Leonardo” is a documentary by Dane Andreas Koefoed. Currently showing at the Rome Film Festival, it reconstructs the painting’s history from its origins.

The restorer Dianne Dwyer Modestini, firmly argues Leonardo is the author of the painting. She affirms that “no one could have painted this work except him”. Her reasoning is that there is no gap between the nose and the upper part of the lip; the same style as in the Gioconda (Mona Lisa).

The Salvator Mundi, says the film, between 2011 and 2013 was sold by Yves Boucher for $127 million to the Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev, who then accused him of cheating him.

Doug Patteson, a former CIA agent, explains to the director: “The story of Salvador Mundi and how he grew in value opens our eyes to the trade around the art world”. Director Andreas Koefoed exposes the intrigues surrounding the painting. For collectors, it is not just for the art but its symbolism of money and power. In this case, the intrigue is no less due to divisions among experts as to the authenticity of the work.

“The Lost Leonardo” accuses the National Gallery of London of having contributed to giving credibility to the thesis that the painting is actually attributable to the Renaissance master, the Observer says.

The film says the mysterious buyer of nearly half a billion dollars is the Saudi crown prince, Mohammed Bin Salman. With the cancellation of the 2019 exhibition, the picture has not been exposed. But the question remains: Is Salvator Mundi really a da Vinci?

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