Doubt Has Been Cast on the Attribution of the World's Most Expensive Painting
The Salvador Mundi by Leonardo da Vinci sold at auction in 2017 at Christies New York for $450 million that smashed all previous records and absolutely stunned the art world.
At the time, the buyer's identity was shrouded in secrecy, but it was later revealed that, after very heated bidding, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (alias 'MBS') was the new owner.
Ben Lewis, who wrote The Last Leonardo has stated that the Saudis paid such a high price because they thought that they were bidding against another rival royal family from Qatar. The defeated under-bidder, however, was Chinese billionaire, Liu Yiqian.
After the piece sold, scholars have continued to debate the provenance of the portrait of Christ as merely "from the workshop" of Leonardo.
Soon after the sale of the painting, the Louvre announced that it asked to exhibit the Salvador Mundi in its retrospective show honoring da Vinci's 500th birthday. Privately, however, the museum decided to label it as "from the workshop" of Leonardo. In so doing, it would leave the Saudi owner publicly humiliated, as its value would go down to somewhere in the range of $1.5 million.
Mr. Lewis continued to say, "If a picture cannot show its face, that is really damning for the art world. It is almost like it has become the Saudi's latest political prisoner."
We still cannot unequivocally answer our former blog question: Who In The World (actually) Painted The Salvador Mundi?We can, however, answer our blog question: Where In The World Is The Salvador Mundi? The painting is said to be currently in a storage facility in Switzerland.