Culture World: Salvator Mundi Remake

4:18 pm  |  03.01.2022

The sale of the pseudo-Leonardo for $ 450 million is one of the largest scandals in art. The painting has disappeared since the 2017 auction. Now the workup starts.


The auction house Christie’s in New York was made in 2017 with the sale of the “Salvator Mundi”, as one deflects the view from the artwork itself to sell a mediocre painting as a unique Leonardo. In a campaign video and on many Instagram posts one saw a to tearing Leonardo DiCaprio in front of the “Salvator Mundi”, the painting, which was hazy at an incredible $ 450 million in value within a few years and a too intensive restoration of $ 1175 at incredible $ 450 million and To this day is the most expensive image in the world.

The supposed Leonardo in the National Gallery in London

There is probably no work that claims that much – and his fate has to do so little with him, like the “Salvator Mundi”. He embodies the longing of man for wondering. The miracle of the so-called loft founder, which makes one the millionaire. And a masterpiece as a deputy for a Savior who appears us and saved in the Rosamunde Pilcher style.

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“The Lost Leonardo” now recapitulates the path of the world screet. It is already the second film about the topic, after “Salvator for Sale” by Antoine Vitkine in the spring of 2021. And yet the new thriller of the Danes Andreas Koefoed captivates. He comes closer to run, explores the backgrounds, speaks with the dealers, journalists, experts. More importantly, it focuses not only on the political scandal but also secretes the art-historical, the catastrophe of the write-up.

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One of the key figures, the then director of the National Gallery in London, is confronted with the accusation, he deliberately delighted the picture by presenting it in the Great Retrospective of the artist in 2011 as a doubt Leonardo. He relies on his conviction – and refuses any further statement. A dramatic moment. One feels that much on the art market is at the edge of legality, which would have ever serious legal consequences in the economy.

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The most important thing is that the view also lingers again in the picture and the question: how was all this possible? And: Would it be so conceivable today? Bernd Wolfgang Lindemann, until 2016 director of the Berlin painting gallery, sets in the film: “The majority of the picture is a remake of a remake.” And the Leipziger Leonardo researcher Frank Zöllner explains exactly what the problem is: “The greetings received are of Students Leonardos “

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You can recognize this in detail, the curls shown schematically, the rigid, false-painted gesture of the hand. And elements like the light, which then sew on Leonardo, have added the Restorer Dianne Modestini, says Zöllner. The picture is a masterpiece of the restorer, he chats. As far away, the important provenance of the painting is described. Although the work of the painter is documented on penibula, the image is not mentioned. Modestini itself is affected but fighting. She believes in her Leonardo – unshakeable. Later, she will grant that she was involved in the sales proceeds of the picture.

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But the largest remaining puzzle can not solve this movie: where is the picture now? After the 2019 auction, it disappeared in Saudi Arabia, briefly disappeared in Paris, as the French President Macron personally negotiated with the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman over a presentation in the Great Leonardo exhibition – and then disappeared unseen again. Already produced catalogs were destroyed, the Louvre has been silent since then.

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