Art lovers amaze me. I liken them to wine tasters – the way they break down a painting down to the artist’s final stroke reminds me of how wine tasters feel the wine’s ingredients right down to the year it was manufactured.
Different from the wines’ world, however, the art world is marred by much more controversy. Experts disagree on certain paintings, especially their years of creation and the masters of the craft.
For those not well versed, it can all be so confusing seeing as these leading experts all have strong opinions supporting the stand they take.
The Salvator Mundi
One painting that has them differing once more is the Salvator Mundi, a piece that many believe to be the work of the great Leonardo da Vici himself. Since 2017, the painting has been considered missing, after fetching a cool $450 million at an auction.
The piece is a portrait of Jesus, and reports have surfaced that it was spotted on Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s superyacht. If this is true, art lovers will be severely disappointed as the eventuality renders the painting completely inaccessible to them.
According to Christie’s, a reputable auction house dealing in art, the Salvator Mundi was painted by da Vinci in the 1500s, commissioned by King Louis XII (France).
In 1625, the painting made its way to England, brought in by Princess Henrietta Maria. From then on, Salvator Mundi was passed down from monarch to monarch, but the piece eventually went missing in the 18th century.
It stayed missing for almost two centuries, resurfacing in 1900. By then, the portrait had been slightly altered, but Sir Charles Robinson acquired it all the same.
He also did receive word that the piece wasn’t da Vinci’s, but rather Bernardino Luini’s. This started the debate as two who actually painted the Salvator Mundi since the two painters actually worked together.
More Confusing Details
In 1913, more confusing details about the piece emerged, with Tancred Borenius describing it as the work of Giovanni Antonio Boltraffio.
If you know your history, you’ll know that Boltraffio was one of da Vinci’s students. By the late 1950s, the Salvator Mundi had undergone complete alteration and was auctioned off for £45 in 1958.
Despite the overwhelming evidence showing Leonardo da Vinci’s hand being the only one that worked on the portrait of Jesus, Ben Lewis, an art critic, suggested that I was most probably pained by the master’s students before the man applied his finishing touch. Carmen Bambach, an art specialist, also believes this theory, going as far as noticing Boltraffio’s touch in the painting.
For a piece that sold for $450 million in 2017, Robert Simon and Alexander Parish must be glad that they got it for $1,175 in 2005. Once the two art dealers saw the piece pop up at an auction gallery, they set aside $10,000 to acquire it. They were lucky to only part with a little over $1,000!
They immediately set out to discover if it was really a Leonardo da Vici piece, a fact that they confirmed to be true. It was then moved to London three years later, from where it was later auctioned off for an insane amount.