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


This article was initially printed by The Art Newspaper, an editorial associate of CNN Style.
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 at the Prado nationwide museum in Madrid, Spain. It was purchased in November 2017 by the Saudi tradition minister, Prince Badr bin Abdullah, apparently for the Louvre Abu Dhabi.
The downgrading is available in the catalog of the Prado exhibition “Leonardo and the copy of the Mona Lisa,” which runs till January 23, 2022. Although particular person specialists have questioned the standing of the so-called Gulf “Salvator Mundi,” the Prado resolution represents the most important response from a number one museum since the Christie’s sale.
The Prado’s verdict is recorded in the exhibition catalog’s index, which has one listing of work “by Leonardo,” and one other for “attributed works, workshop or authorised and supervised by Leonardo.” The Gulf portray is recorded in the second class, the place it’s known as the Cook model (it was purchased in 1900 by London-based Francis Cook). Although 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 consider that there was a now lost prototype (of Leonardo’s “Salvator Mundi”) while others think that the much debated Cook version is the original.” However, she suggests “there is no 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: Alamy

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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 non-public assortment. Mozo argues that the expert workshop artist who painted the Ganay “Salvator Mundi” was additionally liable for the Prado’s early copy of the “Mona Lisa” (1507-16). Although the catalog features a full-page picture of the Ganay “Salvator Mundi,” the Cook model will not be 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 varied views on the Gulf “Salvator Mundi” with out giving a lot of his personal opinion, though he does seek advice from “details of surprisingly poor quality.” Mozo would presumably have consulted carefully with Delieuvin, who’s a key collaborator on the present Prado exhibition. Last 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 in the Louvre present. Delieuvin mentioned the Gulf model had been requested however after “a long discussion” was not provided. Delieuvin spoke unenthusiastically about the Gulf “Salvator Mundi,” saying that though “an interesting painting, it is not the most personal composition of Leonardo.” The Louvre curator informed the Courtauld seminar that it “would have been good to have had it (the Gulf painting) near the nice Ganay version, which is a high-level workshop version.” The Ganay image can also be included in the Prado’s present present. In the Prado catalog, Delieuvin concludes of the Gulf “Salvator Mundi”: “It is to be hoped that a future permanent display of the work will allow it to be reanalysed with greater objectivity.” Top picture: Leonardo da Vinci’s “Salvator Mundi” on show at Christie’s in London.



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