Fake or Fortune? Was Salvator Mundi Not Painted by Da Vinci?
This is the Million dollar question, or should I say, 450 Million Dollar question as the most expensive painting ever to be sold in all of human history is now under intense scrutiny, as whether the painting who was attributed to Da Vinci, is actually not a Da Vinci at all!
Salvator Mundi masterpiece can’t stop making headlines. In 2017,
after intense restoration, it was finally ready to be auctioned off as the last Da Vinci ever to be offered in the free market. The identity of the buyer, who initially was shredded in secrecy, was revealed to be a Saudi Businessman who bought the painting on behalf of the Saudi crown prince Mohammed Bin Salman, who then gave the painting to the Louvre Abu Dhabi as a gift.
However, the Abu Dhabi unveiling was abruptly postponed leading to a multitude of conjectures and conspiracy theories regarding the whereabouts of the art and it’s lineage.
Then, after months of speculation, The Louvre in Paris asked Louvre Abu Dhabi if it can borrow the painting for its autumn exhibition on Da Vinci. However, after a few weeks, the Louvre in Paris announced it will not showcase the work as it is now assumed NOT to have been created by Leonardo Da Vinci!
Art historians say that if the painting was not created by Da Vinci, but by someone else in his workshop, then the value of the painting would drop to $1.5 Million.
This is a real blow for the Saudi and the Louvre in Abu Dhabi. However, the fight for the painting’s authenticity is held now among the art world’s elite. What would be the final verdict? We will need to wait and see…
Currently, the painting is said to be in a storage facility in Switzerland.