A Salvator Mundi painting which Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman presumably paid $450million to own may in truth have actually been developed by Renaissance artist Leonardo da Vinci after all.
The pricey painting of Christ, dubbed the ‘male Mona Lisa’, has not been seen in public because it was reportedly purchased for a huge sum by the Saudi royal family at a 2017 Christie’s auction.
A documentary due to work on French TELEVISION this week alleges that the Saudis kept the painting from a 2019 exhibition at the Louvre in Paris after specialists concluded that the master had only ‘contributed’ to it.
However other art professionals have now rubbished filmmaker Antoine Vitkine’s claims and think the painting, which depicts Jesus in Renaissance dress holding an orb in his left hand, was ‘indeed the work of Leonardo’.
Didier Rykner, editor of magazine La Tribune de l’Art, declared the Louvre and its analysis system had ‘reached the opposite conclusion to the documentary’.
The New york city Times reported the outcomes of the analysis were concealed since of a disagreement over how the painting would be shown, with the Saudis supposedly insisting that it be hung next to the Mona Lisa.
A Salvator Mundi painting which Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman presumably paid $450million to own may in reality have actually been produced by Renaissance artist Leonardo da Vinci
A handout picture supplied by the Saudi Press Company on April 1, 2021, shows Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhemi invited by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman
Salvator Mundi: Da Vinci’s ‘male Mona Lisa’ Salvator Mundi, a depiction of Christ as saviour of the world, is believed to have been painted in around 1500 for Louis XII – shortly after the French king conquered the Duchy of Milan and took control of Genoa. The initial piece is the most costly painting ever sold at auction, breaking all records at Christie’s in New york city in 2017 when it was bought by Badr bin Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Farhan Al Saud for $450,300,000. The painting portrays Jesus in Renaissance gown, making the sign of the cross with his right hand, while holding a transparent, non-refracting crystal orb in his left. Around 20 other variations of the work are known to have actually been developed by trainees and fans of Da Vinci, with preparatory chalk and ink drawings of the drape by the master kept in the British Royal Collection. Ad
The brand-new French documentary looks into the row playing out between Riyadh and Paris over the authenticity of Salvator Mundi.
In it, senior French authorities say Bin Salman had required that the French federal government display the artwork inside the Louvre alongside the Mona Lisa and present it as 100 percent da Vinci’s work.
But, they say, their analysis shows that – while the painting was produced in one of da Vinci’s workshops – the master himself just ‘contributed’ to the work.
That analysis and the ensuing row explains why the painting failed to look like planned at the Louvre Abu Dhabi in 2018, and then at a hit da Vinci show by the Louvre in Paris the list below year.
‘ Things turned incomprehensible,’ says one French official in the movie – The Hero for Sale, which premiers on French TELEVISION this week.
‘ The demand by ‘MBS’ (bin Salman) was extremely clear: show the Salvator Mundi next to the Mona Lisa, and present it as 100 percent a da Vinci.’
The Saudis provided various deals, the official states, however his suggestion to the Elysee was that this would amount to ‘laundering a $450million art work’.
The documentary declares that some members of the French government, including Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, lobbied on behalf of bin Salman’s request.
They were worried about the influence on France’s extensive strategic and economic relationship with Saudi Arabia.
However Emmanuel Macron ultimately decided to reject bin Salman’s demand, leaving it to the Louvre to work out with the Saudis on how the painting should be presented in their retrospective, said the documentary.
Art professional Eric Turquin informed AFP the museum’s conservators were ‘highly opposed’ to positioning it alongside the Mona Lisa, fearing it would trigger a lot of security problems to have the paintings side-by-side.
‘ They likewise believed that, while this portrait clearly had its place in the exhibition, there was no reason to make it the most important in the retrospective just for factors linked to its auction cost,’ he included.
The Louvre has refused to comment on any of these problems.
A documentary due to operate on French TELEVISION declares the Saudis withheld the painting from a 2019 display at the Louvre in Paris after specialists concluded the master had only ‘contributed’ to it
A new documentary declares Mohammed bin Salman, thought to be the work’s owner, desired it provided as 100 per cent da Vinci’s work – but professionals stated the master just ‘contributed’ to it
‘ The Saudis hesitate of this argument on the authenticity,’ states Chris Dercon, who heads among France’s top museum bodies and recommends the Saudi federal government on art, in the documentary.
‘ They are afraid that people will state, both at home and abroad, ‘You spent all this money for something that is not a da Vinci.”.
The painting was at first bought in 2005 for just $1,175 by a New york city art dealership and brought back in the United States.
A number of British specialists confirmed the painting as a long-lost da Vinci and it existed as such at London’s National Gallery in 2011 prior to being offered to a Russian oligarch for $127.5 million two years later on.
It then cost $450million at auction at Christie’s in New York, breaking the record for the most pricey artwork ever sold at a public auction.
Officially, the buyer was Prince Bader bin Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Farhan al-Saud – a little-known member of the Saudi royal family without any history as an art collector.
However US authorities stated Prince Bader was actually utilized as a stand-in for bin Salman, who is the true owner of the painting.
Riyadh continues to deny that Bin Salman is the real owner.