The Salvatore Mundi is a name relatively unknown until a few weeks ago. Now it has hit the world headlines. Why?
Leonardo da Vinci – a name that is known by millions of people from around the world, he is the painter of The Salvatore Mundi.
Leonardo da Vinci was part of the Italian Renaissance, but he wasn’t just an artist. In fact, he only painted about 30 works that we know of, during his lifetime. He was also a scientist, mathematician, and inventor. He is credited with the inventions of tanks, helicopters and parachutes as well as many scientific discoveries.
What would it be like to own a Leonardo Da Vinci – I wonder. You may have recently heard that there was an opportunity for one lucky, very wealthy person to do just that.
The work – Salvator Mundi sold for AU$592,000,000. Is any work of art worth that much – I wonder? What do you think?
There has been a lot of controversy about this work since it came to light again in 2005. It was owned by King Charles I of England in the mid-1600s and auctioned by the son of the Duke of Buckingham in 1763. It then disappeared until 1900, when it resurfaced and was acquired by a British collector and was thought at that time, to be done by one of Leonardo’s apprentices.
The painting was sold again in 1958, for $60 at an auction in London. At that time it was not recognized as a da Vinci work. It came to light again briefly in 2005, badly damaged and partly painted-over, by various art dealers.
In 2011, it was again rediscovered and authenticated as one of da Vinci’s works.
The main thing that the experts are hotly debating over, in relation to the Salvatore Mundi’s authenticity, is the glass orb. Walter Isaacson writes in his biography of the artist, “It’s especially puzzling because da Vinci was famously fastidious about the reflection and refraction of light in his work. At the time he made “Salvator Mundi,” he was “deep into his optics studies” and filled his notebooks with diagrams of light bouncing at different angles.”
Isaacson writes, “Solid glass or crystal, whether shaped like an orb or a lens, produces magnified, inverted, and reversed images, instead, Leonardo painted the orb as if it were a hollow glass bubble that does not refract or distort the light passing through it.”
Isaacson himself believes it was an intentional decision to paint it that way and does not believe the Salvatore Mundi is a fake.
While the painting was widely confirmed as a da Vinci in 2011, some scholars have suggested that “Salvator Mundi” was a product of da Vinci’s workshop, or was made by another follower without the master’s talent.
The debate is still raging as to its authenticity. If you want to find out more about Leonardo, there is a newly released book about him if you are interested. See below for a link to the book. There is also a movie coming soon with Leonardo DiCaprio playing Leonardo da Vinci.