Leonardo da Vinci's assistant painted majority of "Salvador Mundi"
Art historian claims that painter's conrtibution to the artwork measures to only 5 to 20 percentEuropost
"Salvator Mundi", a painting attributed to Leonardo da Vinci, holds the world record for the most expensive artwork ever sold at auction – but now a University of Oxford art historian has said he doesn’t think it is by the Renaissance master... at least not completely.
Dr. Matthew Landrus, a specialist on the working methods and intellectual interests of artists and also an expert on Leonardo da Vinci's art claims that "Salvador Mundi" - the Leonardo da Vinci work sold by Christie’s last year for a historic $450m... was actually painted, predominantly, by one of his assistants.
Following the stories that surfaced before its sale claiming the painting was fake, the Oxford art historian now says da Vinci’s contributions to the piece only measures to be between 5 to 20 percent while studio assistant Bernardino Luini completed the rest of it. According to Landrus, Renaissance master likely sketched out the initial design and added finishing touches, most evident in the blending of Christ’s hands, face and orb, leaving the bulk of the work to his studio assistant. He also states a simple comparison between the painting and other works by Luini would be sufficient evidence” to bear out his argument and even gave an example with Luini’s “Christ Among the Doctors”, which bears marked similarities to “Salvator Mundi” since both feature similarly executed drapery and gold bands, as well as face modeling and ringlet hairstyles.
The auction house, alongside many credible academics and scholars ranging from history professors and da Vinci experts, however, rebuted such claims.
"The attribution to Leonardo was established almost 10 years prior to sale by a panel of a dozen scholars, and was reconfirmed at the time of the auction in 2017," a Christie’s spokesperson said in a statement without giving more details.
Leonardo da Vinci’s oil on panel piece, which was sold to Louvre Abu Dhabi museum in 2017 for the record-breaking $450m, was once believed to have been destroyed as it had disappeared from 1763 until 1909. At that time, it was bought by Sir Charles Robinson as a work by Bernardino Luini, and 58 years later it was sold by Sotheby’s in England for just £45. My years after that it was reported to be one of just 20 paintings ever found by the Italian Renaissance polymath.
The rediscovered masterpiece "Salvador Mundi" depicts Christ as "Savior of the world", dressed in renaissance clothing and holding a crystal sphere on his left hand while offering benediction with his right.