Major museum casts fresh doubt over the authenticity of $450M ‘Salvator Mundi’

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This text was initially printed by The Art Newspaper, an editorial accomplice of CNN Type.
The “Salvator Mundi,” which bought for $450 million at Christie’s public sale home as a completely authenticated Leonardo da Vinci, has been downgraded by curators on the Prado nationwide museum in Madrid, Spain. It was bought in November 2017 by the Saudi tradition minister, Prince Badr bin Abdullah, apparently for the Louvre Abu Dhabi.
The downgrading comes within the catalog of the Prado exhibition “Leonardo and the copy of the Mona Lisa,” which runs till January 23, 2022. Though particular person specialists have questioned the standing of the so-called Gulf “Salvator Mundi,” the Prado determination represents essentially the most crucial response from a number one museum for the reason that Christie’s sale.

The Prado’s verdict is recorded within the exhibition catalog’s index, which has one record of work “by Leonardo,” and one other for “attributed works, workshop or authorised and supervised by Leonardo.” The Gulf portray is recorded within the second class, the place it’s known as the Prepare dinner model (it was purchased in 1900 by London-based Francis Prepare dinner). Though the present focuses on the Prado’s copy of the “Mona Lisa,” it additionally offers with variations of different Leonardo compositions.

The Prado curator Ana Gonzáles Mozo feedback in her catalog essay that “some specialists take into account that there was a now misplaced prototype (of Leonardo’s “Salvator Mundi”) whereas others suppose that the a lot debated Prepare dinner model is the unique.” Nevertheless, she suggests “there is no such thing as a painted prototype” by Leonardo.

The Prado Museum in Spain has downgraded the status of the so-called Gulf "Salvator Mundi" in its exhibition catalog for "Leonado and the copy of the Mona Lisa."

The Prado Museum in Spain has downgraded the standing of the so-called Gulf “Salvator Mundi” in its exhibition catalog for “Leonado and the copy of the Mona Lisa.” Credit score: Alamy

Mozo proposes that one other copy of “Salvator Mundi,” the so-called Ganay model (1505-15), is the closest to Leonardo’s misplaced unique. Acquired by Hubert, Marquis de Ganay in 1939, it was bought at Sotheby’s in 1999 and is now in an nameless personal assortment. Mozo argues that the expert workshop artist who painted the Ganay “Salvator Mundi” was additionally accountable for the Prado’s early copy of the “Mona Lisa” (1507-16). Though the catalog features a full-page picture of the Ganay “Salvator Mundi,” the Prepare dinner model isn’t even illustrated.

The opening essay of the Prado catalog is by Vincent Delieuvin, curator of the Musée du Louvre’s landmark 2019 Leonardo retrospective. He discusses the assorted views on the Gulf “Salvator Mundi” with out giving a lot of his personal opinion, though he does seek advice from “particulars of surprisingly poor high quality.” Mozo would presumably have consulted intently with Delieuvin, who’s a key collaborator on the present Prado exhibition.

Final month Delieuvin gave a web based seminar for London’s Courtauld Institute on the challenges of organizing the 2019 present. He was requested why the Gulf model of the “Salvator Mundi” had not been included together with the Ganay image, which was hung within the Louvre present. Delieuvin stated the Gulf model had been requested however after “an extended dialogue” was not supplied.

Delieuvin spoke unenthusiastically concerning the Gulf “Salvator Mundi,” saying that though “an attention-grabbing portray, it’s not essentially the most private composition of Leonardo.” The Louvre curator instructed the Courtauld seminar that it “would have been good to have had it (the Gulf portray) close to the good Ganay model, which is a high-level workshop model.” The Ganay image can be included within the Prado’s present present.

Within the Prado catalog, Delieuvin concludes of the Gulf “Salvator Mundi”: “It’s to be hoped {that a} future everlasting show of the work will enable it to be reanalysed with higher objectivity.”

High picture: Leonardo da Vinci’s “Salvator Mundi” on show at Christie’s in London.

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