Omission of da Vinci painting sparks intrigue
The launch of a brand new da Vinci exhibit has sparked interest after one major painting was left out.
It was rumoured that Salvator Mundi, which depicts Christ, would make a late appearance at the exhibition of Leonardo da Vinci’s work at the Louvre in Paris.
However, the exhibition opened without the piece, which is one of the best-known works attributed to the renowned artist.
The Louvre had also prepared two versions of its brochure, one featuring the painting, the other not.
Salvator Mundi, which shows Jesus in a Renaissance-style dress, has attracted controversy and intrigue in the past. Art historians have debated the authenticity of the painting for decades.
Originally, it was thought to have been created by a pupil of Giovanni Boltraffio, who originally studied under da Vinci. It was then attributed to Boltraffio himself when it was sold at auction for £45 in 1958.
It ended up being attributed to Leonardo da Vinci in 2011 – it last sold at auction in November 2017 for $450.3m (£350.5m), making it the world’s most expensive painting.
Who owns the painting is another question.
Christies, the New York auction house which sold Salvator Mundi in 2017, said it was bought by the Abu Dhabi branch of the Louvre. It has not been seen on display publicly since the sale.
The painting is rumoured to actually be in the hands of the royal family of Abu Dhabi. Recent speculation has suggested the work currently sits on the super yacht of Mohammed bin Salman, the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia.
The Louvre have a copy of the painting in the exhibition, known as the de Ganay version.
When asked whether the real Salvator Mundi would appear in the exhibition, the museum said: “The Louvre Museum has no announcements to make about that.”
The exhibition at The Louvre runs until 24 February.
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